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Vodafone develops Indian LPO as former Linklaters lawyer takes over as UK external affairs director

As Vodafone replaces outgoing UK corporate and external affairs director Justine Campbell with group legal director for corporate and commercial, Helen Lamprell, the telecoms giant has been focusing on developing a new relationship with the legal process outsourcing (LPO) arm of Indian law firm Qui Prior Law Associates (QP).

Vodafone in March signed up with QP, which is run by senior in-house lawyer of 20 years Rajiv Sarin, who has worked in senior positions in companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever and HCL-Hewlett Packard, to initially take on work including basic contract review.

The move comes as Vodafone’s legal department is under continued pressure to cut costs and headcount as its group revenues for the year to March 2013 were down -4.2% to £44.4bn.

General counsel and company secretary Rosemary Martin (pictured) said: ‘I have just been to visit QP in Delhi and they are genuinely impressive, bright, energetic people led by Indian lawyers qualified not only from top Indian law schools but also from leading UK and US universities.’

QP’s LPO division, which also lists Nokia India, Unilever, Swarvoski, Reebok, SAB Miller, Kelloggs and Saint Gobain as clients, is supported by young and dynamic often English-university trained lawyers who provide support in document review, contract management, IP research, case mapping and litigation support. The relationship is being managed out of Vodafone’s Luxembourg office and the company is in the process of training and integrating QP into its systems and processes.

Other FTSE 100 legal departments to use an Indian LPO include BT, which as revealed by Legal Business in July, is in the process of reviewing its relationship with UnitedLex.

BT also uses flexible providers such as Obelisk, with group general counsel Dan Fitz describing BT’s approach to external legal advice as a layered ‘ecosystem’ to meet the organisation’s peaks and troughs. Fitz said at the time: ‘We’re testing all parts of the new legal landscape. It used to just be who is on the panel but more and more corporates will be looking at the entire ecosystem and for legal support that can flex up and down without spending a lot of money.’

The development of the Indian operation coincides with the departure of Campbell, who is leaving to take up the role of general counsel at British Gas.

Her replacement Lamprell, who joined Vodafone from Linklaters capital markets team in 2003, will report to UK chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp.

In an announcement to staff last week, Vodafone said: ‘Helen has been heavily involved in Vodafone’s major corporate acquisitions and disposals including leading the legal support for the sale of our stake in Verizon Wireless.’

Kerry Phillip will take over Lamprell’s role and report to Martin. Phillip joined Vodafone UK as head of legal in 2010, having previously worked in the legal functions of Azzurri, O2 and BT, gaining broad experience in corporate, consumer, enterprise and company secretarial law.