DLA Piper in defence push with BAE hire

DLA Piper has hired former BAE Systems group legal director Michael Lester as a senior consultant as part of the firm’s plans to create a global defence practice.

The hire of Lester, who is set to join the London office on 3 January, follows that of Lockheed Martin Corporation’s general counsel Frank Menaker in the Washington DC office.

Lester was the only general counsel on the board of a FTSE100 company to earn more than £1m in 2005-06, according to annual reports.

He will officially retire from BAE Systems on 1 January, when Philip Bramwell will succeed him as a member of the executive committee. Bramwell joined the company from O2 in November, working with Lester ahead of the handover.

DLA was not a core adviser to BAE during Lester’s seven-year tenure at BAE, Europe’s largest defence company. Lester had previously been director of legal affairs at General Electric Company since 1980.