DLA Piper and Olswang win roles as Vodafone confirms new legal panel

Vodafone has completed a review of its group and UK legal advisers, with Olswang and DLA Piper winning first-time appointments.

The panel is divided into two – a group panel which will handle the legal services for Vodafone’s corporate centre and a dedicated UK panel.

The former features Linklaters, Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose, Field Fisher Waterhouse, DLA Piper, Wragge & Co, Beachcroft, ‘virtual’ law firm Axiom and Olswang, which will manage the telecoms giant’s trademark portfolio.

The UK panel comprises Osborne Clarke, Doyle Clayton and Shakespeares, all of which have been reappointed.

Baker & McKenzie, Pinsent Masons and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer are among those to have lost their positions on the highly-coveted roster, after Freshfields last year acted on Vodafone’s £4.3bn sale of its stake in China Mobile.

UK-based Vodafone Group competition head Nick Woodrow led the process, which kicked off in May.

General counsel and company secretary Rosemary Martin said: “Some of the firms, notably Linklaters, have been valued advisers to Vodafone for many years; others, such as Olswang and DLA Piper are newer arrivals.

“While Vodafone will continue to benefit from the deep sector knowledge it retains in-house, the panel will supply additional expertise as well as access to innovative suppliers, such as Axiom, to manage surges in demand for legal support on a cost-effective basis.

“We will also gain from dedicated service arrangements with niche firms in cost-effective jurisdictions to deliver key projects that involve bulk transactional work.”

The panel for Vodafone UK has not been reviewed since it was first put together in May 2005, with the company subsequently assessing individual law firm relationships rather than the panel as a whole.

Martin, the former head of legal at Reuters, was appointed as Vodafone’s general counsel and company secretary in April last year.