Sydney, Australia.
Sydney, Australia. (Credit: Taras Vyshnya/Shutterstock.com)

Australian firm Clayton Utz has launched a new forensic practice with a partner hire from Big Four auditor EY.

Paul Fontanot was most recently a partner at EY, where he led the Asia Pacific fraud investigation and disputes practice, helping multinational clients identify and manage fraud, corruption and cyber-risk. Specializing in forensic accounting and investigations, Fontanot advises clients on internal investigations, and design and implement compliance programs. He joined EY in 1998 in Johannesburg and had been based in Sydney since 2008.

Fontanot will work alongside Jonathan Prideaux, the head of Clayton Utz’s legal technology practice, who handles electronic discovery and evidence management, and online transactions.

Clayton Utz is the first large Australian law firm to have an in-house forensic practice. Traditionally, law firms rely on third-party firms such as the Big Four to handle forensic analysis for their disputes practices.

“[The new practice] enables us to take a complete service to the market,” said Robert Cutler, chief executive partner at Clayton Utz. The firm can now better respond to the increasing demand from clients for services that help them identify and manage fraud and corruption risk at an early stage, he said.

Australian law firms are no stranger to branching out of legal practices. Last year, rival MinterEllison announced an executive remuneration consulting arm with a four-consultant team from London-based corporate advisory firm Willis Towers Watson’s Australian arm.

Email: azhang@alm.com.

Australian firm Clayton Utz has launched a new forensic practice with a partner hire from Big Four auditor EY.

Paul Fontanot was most recently a partner at EY, where he led the Asia Pacific fraud investigation and disputes practice, helping multinational clients identify and manage fraud, corruption and cyber-risk. Specializing in forensic accounting and investigations, Fontanot advises clients on internal investigations, and design and implement compliance programs. He joined EY in 1998 in Johannesburg and had been based in Sydney since 2008.

Fontanot will work alongside Jonathan Prideaux, the head of Clayton Utz ‘s legal technology practice, who handles electronic discovery and evidence management, and online transactions.

Clayton Utz is the first large Australian law firm to have an in-house forensic practice. Traditionally, law firms rely on third-party firms such as the Big Four to handle forensic analysis for their disputes practices.

“[The new practice] enables us to take a complete service to the market,” said Robert Cutler, chief executive partner at Clayton Utz . The firm can now better respond to the increasing demand from clients for services that help them identify and manage fraud and corruption risk at an early stage, he said.

Australian law firms are no stranger to branching out of legal practices. Last year, rival MinterEllison announced an executive remuneration consulting arm with a four-consultant team from London-based corporate advisory firm Willis Towers Watson ‘s Australian arm.

Email: azhang@alm.com.