Brooklyn pharmaceutical giant Pfizer recently announced that it will acquire rival Wyeth for $68 billion. Pfizer will cut more than 8,000 jobs in the merger, and in anticipation of cholesterol drug Lipitor losing patent protection in 2011.
Now the Legal Intelligencer reports that Pfizer has been trimming its outside counsel, and that Wyeth counsel are unsure of their futures.
Pfizer Inc. has made no secret of its intentions to slash thousands of jobs once a planned merger with pharmaceutical competitor Wyeth goes through, but it may be too early to tell how Wyeth’s 300-person worldwide legal department will be affected.
What does seem clear is the effect a merger would have on Wyeth’s outside counsel.
In 2006, Pfizer went through a dramatic paring down of its outside firms, reducing the number by 80 percent in what it called its P-3 program, or Pfizer Partnering Program…
Wyeth, on the other hand, still employs hundreds of outside law firms…
One source familiar with the deal said Wyeth is far behind Pfizer in this process and, given that Pfizer is the acquirer, it may pass down some of its methods for managing outside counsel onto Wyeth.
“Outside counsel will be impacted at some point,” the source said.