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Axiom hires new UK MD from LexisNexis in senior leadership reshuffle and BT fills competition GC role

In the wake of its latest high profile outsourcing deal with BT, Axiom, arguably the most touted alternative legal services provider, is to boost its senior management team with the hire of LexisNexis’ director of legal markets, Nick West, as incumbent Al Giles moves into a more senior role as executive vice president, head of regional markets.

West is to take the role of managing director of the UK business at Axiom, which Giles, who will continue to be UK-based, has held since he was brought in from Linklaters to launch the US group’s London office in 2007.

On joining in late March, West will oversee the growth of Axiom’s business in the UK, which recently formed part of a multi-site deal with BT, under which Axiom will undertake 30-50 instructions per day across its London, Belfast, Gurgaon and Houston offices. The outsourcing agreement includes simple work such as non-disclosure agreements and first mark-ups of contracts during requests for proposals, to more sophisticated instructions such as end-to-end negotiations of master service agreements and product and service agreements for BT’s telecommunication, internet, voice and video conferencing products and services.

Founded in the US in 2000, Axiom has trebled in size over the last two years and hired 58 lawyers in the first quarter of 2013.

It traditionally has arranged high level secondments for in-house legal teams, outsourcing deals and staffed large ad hoc projects. However, the company is increasingly promoting its contractual analytics capability, and speaking earlier to Legal Business, New York chief operating officer Paul Carr said: ‘A company’s contractual relationship is a really important interface that defines risk, brand and how easy it is to do business with them. Why we are heavily oriented around it is we think it’s a really underserved area.’

The move comes as BT this week hired former principal legal advisor at Sky, Bruce Breckenridge, who joins as GC for competition and regulatory.

The new position was created in a bid to centralise responsibility for competition and regulatory law matters at the FTSE 100 telecoms company and recruit a specialist competition lawyer to lead BT’s team of 16 competition lawyers and to act as the principal point of contact for BT’s senior executives.

It follows the restructuring of BT Retail last year, which split into two divisions, BT Consumer and BT Business, and the reorganisation of its legal teams.

Nigel Paterson, who has been leading the competition team, will continue to be GC for BT Consumer, a role that has expanded considerably of late, particularly since the launch and growth of BT Sport.

Prior to Sky, Breckenridge was a competition associate at Allen & Overy for almost five years, having trained at Lovells, now Hogan Lovells, qualifying in 1997.

Breckenbridge said: ‘I am delighted to be joining BT to head up their competition & regulatory law team. This is a very exciting time to be joining BT, given the growing significance of competition law and regulatory issues.’