Global firm DLA Piper has appointed a minister in Tony Blair’s administration to lead an expanded trade and government-relations practice in London.

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (pictured), a former civil servant and trade unionist made a peer in 1997, is already a consultant to the firm. 

The firm said that Symons, who held ministerial posts in defence procurement and trade, ‘has extensive trade and government-relations experience and offers unique insight, in the Middle East in particular’.

The statement said it was expanding the government practice in response to the increasing demand for strategic government-relations advice ‘and particularly for experts from within government’.

It also announced the appointment of John Forrest, former partner of international firm Dechert, to lead the firm’s trade practice, ‘in response to the growing demand for sanctions and import/export-controls advice’.