RIM's top lawyer walks

Troubled mobile phone outfit RIM has seen another high-profile exit, this time from its legal team.

Normally when a company starts to go under, the lawyers are left picking at the bones with last minute writs. However the top lawyer at RIM has decided that the grass is much more litigious somewhere else and has started to clean out her desk. She will stick around until they find a replacement.

Chief Legal Officer Karima Bawa, who litigated numerous patent disputes and helped write many of RIM’s commercial deals quit a week after the resignation of RIM’s head of global sales, Patrick Spence.

Word on the street is that RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins is restructuring RIM and not everyone is happy with it.

The resignations come ahead of what are expected to be massive layoffs this year just as the company makes a last roll of the dice with its BlackBerry smartphones run by an operating system completely different from that used in its legacy phones.

RIM’s shares have fallen some 75 percent in the last year as the company has taken a caning from Google’s Android.

Bawa, joined RIM in 2000, was promoted to general counsel and chief legal officer in late 2010.

RIM historically was a little nervous when it came to matters legal. There was a long patent dispute early in the company’s rise the company took on a lot of in-house lawyers afterwards.

Now it seems that RIM has decided that it does not need a big legal team and Bawa has had her glorious empire trimmed down.