Legal Business Blogs

Senior hires: KPMG appoints DLA partner as Manchester legal head as A&O and NRF lose partners to HogLove and Vedder Price

As KPMG looks to expand its legal services practice the Big Four accountant has hired DLA Piper corporate partner Nick Roome to head its legal services arm in Manchester in what it says is the first of a series of hires planned over the course of this year.

Roome, who has broad corporate, private equity and commercial legal expertise with a focus on the north of England and international markets, qualified with Addleshaws in 2000 before moving to DLA Piper’s Manchester office in 2005. He will start his new role in the late Spring.

KPMG’s legal services practice is a well-established part of KPMG’s wider UK tax practice and has worked with the tax team nationwide for a number of years. The Manchester legal services team currently includes a four-strong tax litigation team, which has been in place for over ten years. In addition, KPMG has a team of advisers on corporate and employment law who help provide multi-disciplinary tax services to clients where required.

Commenting on his appointment, Roome said: ‘I am very excited to be making the move from a law firm to an accounting firm with such a diverse and varied portfolio of clients and projects. KPMG already has a well-established legal services practice and I look forward to helping it grow and develop further in the North.’

Roome is the first of around four or five legal appointments expected in KPMG’s Manchester legal services team.

His hire comes shortly after Legal Business reported in September that KPMG is considering its options under the Legal Services Act (LSA) to convert to an alternative business structure (ABS) in a bid to expand its legal services capability.

EY also said at the time that it had the position ‘under review’ and PwC is understood to be considering its position. Deloitte was the only one of the Big Four accountants to deny any plans to set up an ABS.

Meanwhile, in the City, current global head of aviation at Norton Rose Fulbright, Neil Poland, becomes the latest partner to leave the firm as he joins Chicago-headquartered Vedder Price’s global transportation finance practice in London next month.

Poland, who is rated as ‘top class’ by the Legal 500, acts on behalf of financial institutions on capital markets financings, as well as bank syndicates on the financing of European locomotives and leading passenger rolling stock operating companies (ROSCOs).

Key clients for the Norton Rose aviation team include easyJet, Emirates, Flybe, Malaysian Airline Systems Berhad, Air Tanker Services, Amentum Capital, and Orix Aviation Systems.

‘We are thrilled to have Neil join us,’ said executive committee vice chair and chair of the firm’s global transportation finance team Dean Gerber. ‘Neil has extensive experience in the aviation and rail industry on a global-scale that will deepen Vedder Price’s practice and strengthen our growing London office.’

Prior to joining Norton Rose, Poland worked for the London offices of Magic Circle firms Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance.

Other high-profile departures from Norton Rose in recent months include Michael Grenfell, who joined the senior leadership team at the newly created Competition and Markets Authority last November.

November also saw longstanding antitrust partner Mark Jones leave for Hogan Lovells followed in the same month by energy partner and former head of nuclear services Fiona Reilly, who left for PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to become a director in the nuclear energy team to develop the global energy practice.

In other high profile moves, former Allen & Overy (A&O) corporate partner Don McGown is to join Hogan Lovells corporate practice in early February.

McGown, who has been with A&O since 1990, has acted for a number of high profile clients including 21st Century Fox on the US$10 billion spin-off of its publishing and print businesses, and DS Smith on its US$2 billion reverse acquisition of SCA Packaging.

He primarily advises on international M&A and corporate restructuring and has significant sector expertise in telecommunications and media, and financial services.

Commenting on McGown’s arrival Andrew Skipper, global co-head of Hogan Lovells’ corporate practice, said: ‘Continuing to strengthen our excellent London corporate practice is important for us and Don’s arrival will bring additional high quality board level experience and international perspective to our London team.

‘Don is a highly effective and skilled practitioner with the right skillset, market standing and collegiate approach. He is the perfect fit for our corporate practice with its global spread, in-depth industry knowledge and expertise in highly regulated sectors.’