13 July 2020

Deloitte steps up US legal push with launch of Legal Business Services arm

Deloitte's offices in downtown Los Angeles

Deloitte's offices in downtown Los Angeles

Big Four giant hires executives from managed legal services rivals to ramp up offering to in-house legal departments

Big Four accountancy firm Deloitte has stepped up its US legal offering with the launch of a Legal Business Services practice offering managed legal and consultancy services.

Three senior executives have been hired — from alternative legal services firms Integreon and Elevate and consultancy Gartner — to help spearhead the expansion of the business, which aims to help corporate legal departments ‘accelerate the transformation of the business of law’. 

However, unlike in many jurisdictions including the UK, the practice will not offer legal advice in order to conform with US bar rules outlawing multi-disciplinary legal practices.

The management team of the business, which sits with Deloitte Tax, includes the three new hires plus Deloitte Tax partners Valerie Dickerson and Dan Lange, Don Fancher, US and global leader for Deloitte Forensic, and Scott Read, a principal at Deloitte Risk & Financial Advisory.

The new members of the team are principal Mark Ross, who joined in January from Integreon, where he was global head of contracts, compliance and commercial services; managing director Lewis Christian, who joined last month from Elevate; and fellow managing director Richard Levine, who came on board in May from Gartner.

Ross and Christian will focus on contract lifecycle management while Levine will lead on resource allocation.

Dickerson said while Deloitte was bringing existing services under a single umbrella it was also looking to make further hires on top of the trio already secured.

“We’re invested in growing; we’ll be hiring,” she said, adding: “We believe that most legal departments are undergoing changes and while there is competition we see the market as a large one.”

Other services packaged up into the new offering include operating model design; legal entity management; regulatory consulting; knowledge management; ediscovery; data governance; legal invoice review and spend analytics; legal services and supplier sourcing; dispute analysis; and forensic investigations.

Lange said: “Market analysis shows that many current external providers continue to replicate solutions of the past and deliver narrow services through traditional, siloed methods. Now, COVID-19 has catalysed the need for accelerated change in legal departments, requiring them to reimagine their legal operations in real time.”

He added that Deloitte was set on “transforming the business of law through technology, process, enhanced project management, and innovative operating models”.

In May, Deloitte Legal in the UK signalled the ramping up of its managed legal services business with the hire of Luminance chief executive Emily Foges, who is charged with developing new services in the UK, Europe and the Middle East ‘that are not yet widely available in the market’.

And last December it launched a tech incubator programme hosting an initial cohort of 14 start-ups. 

Deloitte claims to be one of the world’s largest providers of legal business services with Deloitte Legal boasting 2,500 legal experts spanning more than 80 countries.

The unveiling of Deloitte Legal Business Services comes hard on the heels of the US launch last month by Eversheds Sutherland of its managed legal services arm Konexo.

Although there are a number of initiatives underway to reform US bar allows to liberalise the provision of legal services, some experts believe they are unlikely to lead to a major liberalisation of the market.

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