BT brings in two to boost legal team

BT has recruited two lawyers as part of its drive to ramp up its in-house capability across its legal function following the creation of its Openreach division in January.

The main beneficiary of the recruitment campaign is BT’s Wholesale division, which provides network services to UK businesses.

Thomas Bucknall, the former European counsel of ViewSonic, a company specialising in flat-screen development, and Chris Bene, a solicitor for Eurotunnel, have joined in the past month to help establish the new assets transactions commercial team.

The company recently created the team, a three-lawyer sub-team of the 20-lawyer assets and real estate team headed by Ian Jones, within BT Wholesale.

The Lawyer understands there have also been several hires within the property division of the assets and real estate team, which handles legal issues relating to BT’s network and property assets.

As first reported by The Lawyer (6 March), BT underwent a shake up of its legal function brought on by the creation of Openreach, which installs and maintains telecoms services on behalf of the UK’s phone companies and internet service providers.

The move to bring more capacity in-house is understood not to include a push to bring more work in-house, following the telecommunication giant’s panel review, first announced on www.the (7 April).

BT split its legal panel for the first time after finalising its review in April. Addleshaw Goddard, Bird & Bird, HBJ Gately Wareing and Linklaters were retained for general advice, with Allen & Overy and Wragge & Co axed from the panel.

The company also appointed seven firms for specialist advice covering global M&A, regulatory, antitrust, employment and outsourcing issues.