Colt Telecom to double UK legal operation

European telecoms company Colt Telecom is to double the size of its UK legal department by the end of the year.

Colt director of commercial, legal and regulatory Robin Saphra, who began expanding the team earlier this year, is planning to appoint three lawyers into the company’s UK headquarters.

“We’re growing the team as we’ve seen a significant increase in pan-European deals,” said Saphra. “We’re doing high-value deals, buying and selling network technology, and we need the lawyers to deal with that.”

The first quarter of this year saw Saphra hire one lawyer from Berwin Leighton Paisner and one each from the in-house functions at NTL and Viatel.

Colt, whose clients include 3i and Clifford Chance, has 17 lawyers across 13 countries, with three lawyers plus Saphra currently making up its UK-based legal function.

Saphra took control of the legal department, with a view to making Colt’s legal function more commercially driven, following the shock departure of Colt general counsel Jane Forrest in November 2005.