A&O, Wragges miss out on BT panel places following overhaul

Allen & Overy (A&O) and Wragge & Co have been dumped as primary advisers to BT following a major review of the telecoms giant’s legal panel.

As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (7 April), BT’s key general advisers – Addleshaw Goddard, Bird & Bird and Linklaters – have retained their spots on the panel along with its main Scottish adviser HBJ Gateley Wareing.

BT group general counsel Anne Fletcher said: “Throughout this review we’ve focussed on firms which can best complement BT’s internal legal community by delivering commercially driven and cost-effective advice, an excellent quality of service and a flexible and innovative approach to legal services.”

For the first time, the BT panel is split into two groups of law firms. The first group of primary advisers will be acting on general legal issues and the second will be a specialist group.

Wragges managing partner Ian Metcalfe said: “They told us that they were happy with the services we’d provided, but after the change in nature of the panel and given the volume of work, it wasn’t appropriate for us to be included on the panel,” he said.

An A&O spokesperson said: “We confirm that the firm participated in the procurement process, which was normal for setting up this type of panel. We weren’t selected. We wish BT well with their new panel.”

The seven specialist firms and their areas are: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (global M&A and IP), Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison (global M&A), Gilbert & Tobin (global regulatory and antitrust), Hogan & Hartson (global regulatory and antitrust), Jones Day (global regulatory and antitrust), Reed Smith (employment) and Pinsent Masons (outsourcing).