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In transformation: KPMG’s Barton to rework legal team amid review of external firms

KPMG’s UK general counsel (GC) Jeremy Barton is leading a transformation of its legal team, while also reviewing the broad range of relationships that KPMG has with law firm suppliers.

The Big Four accountant doesn’t currently have a formal panel, and Barton says this is unlikely to change, as he prefers an informal approach with external advisers. Regular law firms instructed by the legal team include DLA Piper, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Osborne Clarke and Pinsent Masons.

While Barton (pictured) would not be drawn on the exact nature of the changes, expected to conclude by September, he told Legal Business: ‘We are in the middle of a transformation of my team, which is ongoing, it is quite exciting. We don’t have a formal panel in terms of law firms but we are reviewing the broad range of relationships that we have.

Barton, who joined KPMG from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in December last year, added: ‘Suffice to say when one comes in as a new GC, you look at how things are arranged in the team and sometimes there are things you identify that the team agrees would be good to change. The process will come through into the autumn.’

At KPMG Barton is currently supported by a small team in the central legal function who are responsible for a mixture of corporate commercial work, intellectual property and technology as well as treasury, pensions and insurance work.

Barton also looks after a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers in the company’s contract unit team that deal with all client related matters, as well as KPMG’s practice protection team, which handles investigations and claims.

Prior to becoming GC at BCG, Barton spent ten years at Andersen as European and deputy GC and also held the global GC role at Ernst & Young. He took over at KPMG from Vanessa Sharp, who retired from the GC role at the accountancy giant after 18 years.