While traditional law firm leaders have to date largely scoffed at the progress made by the Big Four, today’s (20 December) news of KPMG appointing a Magic Circle corporate veteran as its new UK legal head will have turned heads.
The accountancy firm revealed that Linklaters deals partner Stuart Bedford will become its head of law for the UK in April 2023, replacing the longstanding Nick Roome. Roome, who has held the post since 2015, is being promoted to a new role where he will concentrate ‘on growing KPMG’s global legal solutions.’
Bedford will bring with him a notable track record, having been named Linklaters’ London corporate head in 2014 and boasting several high-profile advisory mandates. During his career, Bedford has advised on the IPOs of Bumi, Fresnillo, Hochschild Mining, Xchanging, Britvic and Investec, and in 2015 he assisted Brait on its £1.9bn acquisition of New Look and its £1.3bn acquisition of Virgin Active.
He also has considerable in-house experience, thanks to stints at BAE Systems, Grosvenor and an 18-month spell at private equity house Leapfrog Investments.
Bedford said of his appointment: ‘I am excited to be taking on this new challenge and aim to build on the impressive strides KPMG Law has made in the past few years. We have a huge opportunity to build on the great work we are already doing at a time of accelerated change within the legal sector. I am very much looking forward to working with the team as we help our clients and the firm to achieve their ambition.’
Established in the UK in 2014, KPMG Law has made significant progress in the last couple of years. According to the firm, revenues have expanded by over 80% in that two-year period.
This is on top of an ambitious growth strategy which was announced earlier this year. In May, KPMG Law revealed an eye-catching £300m investment programme designed to supercharge growth. Speaking to Legal Business in October, Roome said the programme gave him a mandate to hire over 200 new lawyers and nearly triple KPMG’s partner headcount, from 35 to 90, by 2024. He added this would largely be done via lateral hiring.
For a comprehensive review of KPMG Law’s evolution since 2014, as well as the thoughts of law firm leaders on the rise of the Big Four, read our interview piece with Roome from October.