Sun Microsystems’ law firms are threatened by cull

Sun Microsystems is slicing its legal advisers in half in a move that will result in around 100 firms being axed.

The US IT giant currently has relationships with more than 200 firms, but is seeking to reduce them within the next 12 months by 50 per cent.

Sun Microsystems currently instructs a wide range of firms, including Clifford Chance, Crowell & Moring, Howrey Simon Arnold & White, Nabarro Nathanson, Singapore-based Stamford Law Corporation and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.

One source close to the process said it is difficult to differentiate between the firms presently used by Sun Microsystems because many duplicate the same skills. “[The company] is therefore looking at how creative firms are and what legal solutions they can bring to the company,” said the source.

The review is the second time Sun Microsystems has reassessed its external advisers within the past two years. Back then, the company also cut its law firms by 50 per cent, from 400 to 200.

In a separate move, Sun Microsystems has overhauled its sales and distributions law group to create a flatter management structure following the appointment of Leif Frykman as the head of legal within the division.

The company has abolished general counsel roles in four regions, comprising Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Asia Pacific, Latin America/Canada, and the US.

EMEA general counsel Sheryl Facklerhug has returned to the US, while US general counsel Charlie Bofinger is leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Peter Connor and Marbell Aguilar, general counsel of the Asia Pacific and Latin America/Canada regions respectively, are also expected to take up new roles in the legal department.