C&W legal team to be cut in overhaul

Cable & Wireless (C&W) is to downsize its legal department as part of a series of sweeping changes that will see a cultural overhaul of the team.

New general counsel Nick Cooper told The Lawyer that his legal team would not go unscathed by the company’s recently announced plans to halve its UK workforce by the end of the decade.

“We’re in for a period of change and the legal department will be affected, but change doesn’t mean numbers alone,” he said. “It’s going to mean cultural change as well and a new approach to the way we go about our work. We’ll have to become more effective.

“The business is going to change and we’ll have to respond to that.”

Cooper, who secured the top legal job after Andrew Garard’s shock resignation in January, insists that the new business strategy will not have a dramatic impact on his team, but did admit that it was likely to be slimmed down.

“In terms of numbers, we will get smaller,” he added. “What it’s likely to mean is that, when people leave, we’ll look at whether they need to be replaced.”

C&W has undergone a number of reshuffles among its senior legal staff in recent years, including the 2003 departure of global head of legal Dan Fitz following a management shake-up.

Garard replaced Fitz, joining from Reuters in July 2003. He oversaw the downsizing of the legal department, with compulsory redundancies affecting approximately a third of the department in 2004.