Legal Business

BT selects Axiom for global legal outsourcing and analytics contract

Jobling steps aside as head of volume business BT Law

An innovator long at the vanguard of transforming the traditional in-house legal function, BT in February entered into a three-year contract with Axiom to provide the telecoms giant with legal outsourcing and analytics services across the UK, US, Africa, Middle East and Asia, replacing and extending a contract formerly held by legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider UnitedLex.

All work previously undertaken by UnitedLex, which includes 30% of BT’s global services division’s legal work in the UK, transferred to Axiom on 1 February after a successful tender process that concluded towards the end of 2013.

Legal Business

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

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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.’

francesca.fanshawe@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

In-house: face of BT Law to change after Miles Jobling steps aside

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The face of BT Law, having last year secured a licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority to hive off BT’s successful motor claims business into an alternative business structure (ABS), Miles Jobling has now handed over his lead role to Sheffield-based co-founder Archana Makol.

Makol has become the Compliance Officer of the Legal Practice (COLP) for BT Law, as most of the division’s contracts are processed out of Sheffield and a spokesperson for the telecoms giant explained: ‘The COLP role is very important and needs the person to be very close to the day-to-day operation.’

Jobling, who will remain as a director of BT Law and continue to be involved in the business, will now re-focus his efforts on his role as head of BT Group’s 155-strong global litigation, employment and corporate investigations team.

It has long been BT’s intention to divert some of its litigators to BT Law as it grows and develops and Jobling will now manage that process.

The spokesperson added: ‘Miles remains very much committed to its success. Miles and his team are driving the business forward and the clients are starting to grow. They are looking to other new products that they can offer.’

BT Law incorporates BT Claims, an already well-established name in the motor claims management industry, which handles more than 35,000 corporate fleet vehicles.

As a result of having secured ABS status and being able to offer otherwise restricted legal services such as litigation, BT Law can offer an in-house end-to-end motor claims service for businesses from incident notification, through investigation and resolution and now including full litigation management.

Since its launch last March BT has won three third-party contracts for companies with large fleets, including Network Rail, and is looking at strengthening its portfolio to personal injury and employment work.

This latest development comes after Legal Business this week (6 February) revealed that BT has agreed a new three-year arrangement with Axiom to provide global assistance with contractual work out of its London, Belfast, Houston, and India sites. Axiom, which takes over a legal process outsourcing contract from UnitedLex, is taking on a bigger chunk of BT’s contractual needs and is also providing sophisticated analytics with the aim of improving its processes and reducing repetition.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

In-house: BT selects Axiom to replace UnitedLex as new LPO provider

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An innovator long at the vanguard of transforming the traditional in-house legal function, BT has just entered into a three-year contract with Axiom to provide legal support services across the UK, US, Africa, Middle East and Asia, replacing a contract formerly held by legal process outsourcing (LPO) provider UnitedLex.

All work previously undertaken by UnitedLex, which includes 30% of BT’s global services division’s legal work in the UK, transferred to Axiom on 1 February after a successful tender process that concluded towards the end of last year.

Axiom will support BT from its European headquarters in London and international centres in Belfast, Gurgaon and Houston, giving the telecoms giant commercial and administrative support for 20 hours a day.

Axiom’s LPO arm will also act as triage for work coming into the legal department under what BT refers to as its ‘front door policy’ – applying a detailed criteria to decide whether work should be either handled by Axiom, sent on to BT’s legal department or reserved for a dialogue over the appropriate response.

This unique set up was successfully trialled by UnitedLex, which since had undertaken low-level contract work for BT in the US and India since 2010.

Under the new arrangement, Axiom will be responsible for providing a variety of lower-level legal support services to BT on commercial contracts, as well as an element of administration. It is also undertaking key contract analytics with a view to monitoring and improving those agreements.

The move, which comes as large corporates such as BT and Vodafone are increasingly taking steps to free up their in-house lawyers to focus on high-level legal work, is part of BT’s efforts to streamline the ‘who’ and ‘how’ of its legal function by systematically delegating tasks to the most appropriate team member and accelerating response times.

BT’s director of compliance and COO, Gareth Tipton, who has been overseeing the process said: ‘This relationship will not only enable BT to support its contracting function more efficiently, but it will allow the in-house legal team to delegate work that does not require their specific expertise in order to focus on the more complex legal and commercial challenges that impact corporate objectives and add bottom-line value to the business.’

Axiom will also assist BT in the creation of tangible tools (from templates to clause libraries to playbooks) to assist with this process.

Tipton added: ‘This is the next stage of our LPO story and an important part of BT ‘s legal transformation programme.’

caroline.hill@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

BT moves to extend its use of legal outsourcing in the UK

BT has begun an extensive legal process outsourcing (LPO) tender for its work in India and the US and is expecting to introduce a new provider for UK work as the telecoms giant moves to outsource over 30% of its UK global services legal work.

The move comes as the FTSE 100 company’s alternative business structure (ABS) arm, BT Law, has won three new contracts and looks to be used as a platform to turn the legal department from a cost to a profit centre, including potentially offering employment law advice.

BT general counsel (GC) Dan Fitz and new director of compliance Gareth Tipton say they are midway through the tender with providers including incumbent UnitedLex – which already takes on 30% of the global services division’s legal work in the UK. The process will take up to three months to complete.

Legal Business

BT and Carillion to expand external legal services

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BT and Carillion have separately extended their legal arms recently to offer more external legal services.

BT Law launched in early March after the telecoms giant received an alternative business structure (ABS) licence from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). BT Law will provide services to customers in the motor claims market and will expand into other areas such as employment law and public liability.

Legal Business

Dan Fitz – BT

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Dan Fitz

Group General Counsel

BT

 

Dan Fitz joined BT as group general counsel in 2010 and is described as ‘at the forefront of developments in the international markets for communications and media services’. He arrived at BT just after the company had gone through some tough times, including shedding 20% of its workforce in 2008 and 2009.