London – LAWFUEL – Legal News, Legal Jobs – DLA Piper has stepped up its plans to expand its global defence practice across the firm with the appointment of former group legal director at BAE Systems, Michael Lester. Lester joins DLA Piper’s London office as a senior counsel. His appointment follows that of Washington DC-based Frank Menaker, who joined the firm early this year after being general counsel for 24 years at Lockhead Martin Corp., one of the world’s largest aerospace and defence contractors.
Lester was general counsel at BAE Systems, Europe’s largest defence company, for over seven years and legal advisor to the board. He was instrumental in developing and executing the company’s strategy on both sides of the Atlantic recently overseeing BAE Systems’ sale of its Airbus stake to EADS.
Lester joined The General Electric Company (GEC) in 1980 as associate director and director of legal affairs. He was appointed director of GEC in 1983 and then vice-chairman in 1994. He joined the board of BAE Systems in 1999 following the merger between British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems.
“Michael is a highly experienced corporate lawyer having worked on cross border alliances, partnerships and mergers in the defence industry. He will be a major asset to our newly created global defence practice following his career as general counsel spanning over 25 years.” said Mark Swindell, partner and DLA Piper’s head of Infrastructure and Defence.
DLA Piper already has a wealth of defence expertise with its government contracts team in Washington DC and its leading defence PPP team in London, whose long established clients include CAE Inc., Amey, Kellogg Brown and Root. Furthermore, DLA Piper is able to draw on its strategic alliance with The Cohen Group, the business consulting firm run by former US Secretary of Defences, William S. Cohen.
Lester’s appointment will assist the strategic growth of the global defence practice into new areas of work including M&A, joint ventures, strategic alliances and partnerships, technology creation, transfer and exploitation arrangements and regulatory investigations. He will also work closely with existing clients who want to develop their business in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Lester joins DLA Piper on 3rd January 2007.