KPMG plans to launch a legal consulting service in the U.K. in the latest bid by the Big Four to tap into the lucrative sector.
The service, which is already provided by KPMG in Australia, Germany and Switzerland, will help in-house counsel and law firms adapt their teams to meet demands of the modern legal market, the firm announced Wednesday.
It will advise on areas such as business goals, legal tech, flexible resources, process automation, risk management, document management and regulatory compliance, among other services.
The operation, which has already started hiring and will go live sometime in 2019, will be made up of former general counsel, legal project managers, business process engineers and applied legal technologists.
Attention is likely to focus on whether this consulting program will point clients in the direction of KPMG’s own legal services arm. The firm said it would decide “what to do with the recommendations,” citing the legal arm or “another provider” as options.
Jurg Birri, KPMG global head of legal services, said in-house legal departments and law firms were grappling with regulatory changes and cost pressures but that executives have realized that “optimizing their performance by using technology and added measurement” can increase performance and ”demonstrate value to their board.”
“Therefore we have decided to launch the [Legal Operations and Transformation Services] offering, which enables us to leverage wider KPMG technologies and work with [general counsel] and legal teams to help them future proof their legal department,” he said in a statement.
The move comes as KPMG and its Big Four rivals look to build up their legal operations to compete in the market. In November, KPMG’s U.K. legal services head Nick Roome told Law.com’s U.K. affiliate Legal Week it was aiming to almost double head count in its global legal services arm to more than 3,000 lawyers in the next few years.
Deloitte and PwC have both announced tie-ups with U.S. firms. Last month, Deloitte also hired Allen & Overy partner and former managing partner contender Michael Castle to head its legal arm in the U.K.