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Amazon bulks up legal capability in Europe

30th May 2014

Amazon, the e-commerce giant, is bulking up its legal capability in Europe, with lawyers from Allen & Overy (A&O), Eversheds and Moneygram being the latest to join the company.

Eversheds senior associate Ben Cavender and Moneygram senior legal counsel Oleysa Leary are both expected to join Amazon next month.

Sources say that Amazon is on a mission to beef up its number of in-house lawyers in Europe.  Leary and Cavender join soon after A&O associate Edward O’Flynn and Edwards Wildman Palmer solicitor Jo Love, who began working for Amazon earlier this year.

Lewis Silkin client Lush won a monumental trademark battle against Amazon at the High Court several months ago, in a sign of the company’s increased need for legal capability in Europe.  The case was a cautionary tale for retailers promoting alternative products in relation to specific search items.

Amazon’s bid to increase its legal capacity comes as the Fortune 500 company begins the process of hiring 1,000 full-time staff in Florida, after opening two new distribution centres in the state.

The internet giant is also expected to create a number of new jobs in Dublin after it opens up a large new office next month.

It is not known if Amazon is planning on reducing its reliance on external legal advisers in the long-term.  The company carried out an overhaul of its Europe external legal advisers last February, a review process which was led from its headquarters in Seattle.

The company’s main legal relationships in the US are with Debevoise & Plimpton, Fenwick & West, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and K&L Gates.

In 2012 Amazon struck an agreement with Waterstones which led to the book retailer selling Amazon’s Kindle e-reader in its stores and on its website.  It is unclear whether Amazon instructed outside lawyers for the deal.