Wragge & Co has been appointed to the new GlaxoSmithKline panel as the chemical giant's sole UK adviser for IT and telecoms work
The client win follows the formation of Wragges' technology group this January. GlaxoSmithKline began a wholesale review of its external legal counsel in the wake of the 2000 merger between SmithKlineBeecham and Glaxo Wellcome. Last year, the company appointed Slaughter and May as its main corporate adviser, relegating SmithKline lawyers Linklaters to second place. GlaxoSmithKline senior counsel Bryn Thomas and Steven Rix began a panel review for IT and telecoms work last November. Thomas said: "We used to do this type of work in-house, but we couldn't handle the shear volume of it. Plus its something that lends itself quite well to external counsel." The company approached seven firms, including Wragges, and went through a full public tender. Thomas said: "We were impressed with Wragges' commerciality." The firm will handle all of Glaxo's telecoms and IT work from day-to-day procurement to global infrastructure projects. Thomas said: "We have a large volume of work, including some major projects coming up." Wragges partners Patrick Duxbury and Peter Hall handled the Glaxo bid and will be the main relationship partners for the firm. Duxbury said: "GlaxoSmithKline is a highly significant new client for the continued development of our technology group." Wragges set up a technology group this January following the trend of industry-facing groups in law firms. Despite the fact that it was created later than many similar groups, it has had significant success in attracting technology clients. The firm represents AT&T, British Airways, BT and Ernst & Young. It has also won FTSE 100 IT company Logica. The group has 18 partners and 60 lawyers from corporate, intellectual property, dispute resolution, e-commerce and telecoms.