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PMG is to set up a legal consultancy arm in the UK, the ‘Big Four’ professional services firm revealed, as it reported strong growth in its global legal services business.
The legal consultancy is expected to launch in the next few months, though the firm has not yet disclosed further details.
This is but the latest signal of intent from the ‘Big Four’ and follows last month’s news that rival firm Deloitte has hired a former magic circle partner to lead its UK legal arm.
KPMG’s UK consulting arm will be part of the Legal Operations & Transformation Services (LOTS) offering, which KPMG says helps in-house counsel identify ‘technologies, flexible resources and managed services that can support delivery of legal services’.
In a separate announcement this morningm, KPMG said ‘rising demands’ for legal services had resulted in revenue growth for its global legal services arm of more than 30%. The practice now has more than 2,300 legal professionals worldwide, including more than 20 new partners added during 2018, it added.
Jürg Birri, KPMG’s global head of legal services, said: ‘Our approach is different. We’re not a traditional law firm, and we’re not copying the approach of a traditional law firm. We focus on offering our clients integrated legal advice and technology-led solutions and methodologies, in combination with a range of alternative legal managed services.’
He added: ‘We expect continued growth in 2019 as we eagerly meet the evolving needs of clients across the globe. Increasingly, our clients are being asked to implement business transformation programmes that need an integrated approach that combines business and legal methodologies, not just pure legal advice. We understand this and are able to deliver.’
In January, the Gazette reported on the opening of a KPMG affiliated legal practice in Hong Kong. An associated Shanghai office is expected to follow later this year.
Crowell & Moring’s new London managing partner Robert Weekes has set out plans to launch a training contract in the City office, having joined the US firm today from Squire Patton Boggs.
Weekes’ move was revealed by Leaders in Law last November, months after it was revealed that Squires’ global head Stephen Mahon would be relocating from the US to lead operations in London.
As head of Crowell’s London office, Weekes will be filling a similar position as before, having been a former City managing partner of Squires.
Now in his new role, Weekes said he plans to bring in a training contract to the London office from September 2021. His plans for the London office also include a pledge to triple its headcount by the end of 2022; Crowell currently has nine partners in London and six fee-earners.
To grow, Weekes has highlighted expansion in litigation, followed by the corporate group and regulation practices. Banking, insurance and financial regulation will be part and parcel of this growth plan. Weekes himself is a litigator, specialising in the financial disputes and investigatory work.
Litigator Weekes will take over from partner Jim Regan, who shares his time between the London and Washington offices. Regan had served as the point of contact between the firm’s head quarters and the London office.
Founded in 1979 by a group of 53 breakaway lawyers from Jones Day, Crowell totals more than 500 lawyers around the world.
Weekes said: “The firm wouldn’t have hired me if it didn’t want to grow. I have a reputation for expansion. I see myself as a person who knows how to grow teams that work well together across practice groups to find innovative and commercial solutions for clients.”
Crowell currently counts Microsoft, BMW, Siemens and BlueCross BlueShield among its clients.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Adrian Maguire is understood to be joining his former boss David Higgins at Kirkland & Ellis, over a year after the US firm made a concerted push to expand its corporate credentials in the City.
White & Case has continued its hiring spree in the City, this time calling in Taylor Wessing’s financial services regulatory head Jonathan Rogers. This is the first US firm Rogers has worked at, having spent 10 years at Taylor Wessing, and seven years as an associate at Hogan Lovells before that.
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