03 November 2020

Deloitte hails 'key moment' as it acquires UK technology firm Kemp Little

Deloitte's London headquarters.

Big Four accountancy giant doubles UK lawyers with deal to absorb highly rated London practice

Deloitte has acquired 29-partner London technology firm Kemp Little in a move it describes as a ‘key moment’ for its growing legal arm. 

The deal doubles the size of Deloitte Legal’s UK team to 170 lawyers and hands it a highly regarded technology and digital media brand in one of the world’s most competitive legal markets.

It is one of the most significant tie ups between a Big Four accountancy firm and a UK law firm ever to have been secured.

Founded in 1997, Kemp Little specialises in commercial technology, corporate, employment, data protection, disputes, IP and financial regulation and had also developed a number of legaltech products including the IP protection tool Dupe Killer.

Its last LLP accounts, to 31 March 2019, recorded revenue of £16.5m against profits of £6.4m.

 “This transaction marks a key moment in the growth of Deloitte Legal,” said Richard Houston, senior partner and chief executive of Deloitte North and South Europe.  “This demonstrates our confidence and willingness to invest where there is clear market demand.”

Kemp Little managing partner Andrew Joint said the two sides had successfully collaborated on a number of projects.

He added: “We are all excited about joining forces with Deloitte Legal at completion to provide a very compelling offering in a market that has long been demanding greater innovation in the delivery of legal services.”

The Big Four accountancy firm said the deal would allow its legal arm to offer clients ‘a much broader and deeper range of legal expertise to complement existing services in advisory, technology, legal management consultancy and legal managed services’.

It is its most significant deal in the legal market since it unveiled plans to take on traditional law firms in 2018 with an expanded legal offering sitting alongside legal consultancy and managed legal services arms.

Tony Williams, principal of Jomati Consultants, said: “Kemp Little are a well-regarded firm with a clear tech focus. Aligned to the entire Deloitte offering there should be significant opportunities to develop the practice and to also add further depth to Deloitte’s growing legal IT capability.”

Deloitte legal employs around 2,500  professionals operating in more than 80 countries; the UK workforce will grow to more than 370 employees on completion of the deal.

In July, it stepped up its US legal offering with the launch of a Legal Business Services practice offering managed legal and consultancy services and in May it hired Luminance chief executive Emily Foges in London with a brief to develop new services in the UK, Europe and the Middle East ‘that are not yet widely available in the market’.

Last month, it entered a strategic alliance with top Italian employment boutique LabLaw.

All of the Big Four accountancy firms have been ramping up their legal offering in recent years.

Last month, KPMG launched a global legal operations consultancy service it said brought together ‘more than 14 years of credentials and experience in the legal transformation space’.

Last year, EY bought the Pangea3 legal managed services business from Thomson Reuters having acquired Riverview Law a year earlier.

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