Up to 20 per cent of BP's in-house lawyers are to be axed over the next couple of months as a result of the £67.5bn merger with Amoco completed late last year.
BP is planning to cut its legal department, which employs over 340 lawyers worldwide.
Peter Bevan, head of BP's legal department, says: “The extent of the reduction will be affected by the type of business activities and their location. The actual selection of lawyers will be based on meritocracy.”
Other factors determining the choice of lawyers staying with BP will be technical skills, knowledge of relevant business matters and interpersonal skills.
BP is also reviewing the number of law firms on its panel, as revealed exclusively by The Lawyer (10 November 1998). There are at least 120 firms in the UK alone used by BP and it is not clear yet which ones will go, but, says Bevan, a decision is due to be made in the next two months.
Linklaters, which advised on the Amoco merger, will almost certainly remain on the panel. It has acted for BP for over 25 years.