Legal Business

Targeting South Korea: EY Law agrees new alliance as Asia-Pacific growth continues

Targeting South Korea: EY Law agrees new alliance as Asia-Pacific growth continues

EY Law continues to enhance its Asia-Pacific presence with an alliance deal with South Korean firm Apex Legal, in a bid to align its advisory and legal businesses throughout the region.

Based in Gangnam in central Seoul, the 55-lawyer practice has become a member firm of EY’s network as it plans to build a 200-strong team of lawyers spanning key commercial centres throughout Asia-Pacific.

Led by its Sydney-based head of legal services, Howard Adams, EY has confirmed further plans for a legal practice to be established in Hong Kong by the end of the financial year, while talks are also due to begin with two small firms in Malaysia. Adams also aims to recruit more lawyers in Australia as a result of increased work flow.

It follows ongoing strategic consolidation executed by the accountancy giant; in October EY announced it brought Singaporean boutique firm PK Wong & Associates into its global network as an independent member, while other entries to the EY network follows that of Shanghai-based law firm, Chen & Co, which become a member firm in January 2014. It further established its own of its legal services capability in Vietnam in April 2014.

In December EY also made good on its growth plans for the UK, and was granted an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, in a bid to provide ‘integrated, multidisciplinary’ legal services across England and Wales.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Aiming for 80 jurisdictions: EY law launches in Sweden with Stockholm office

Aiming for 80 jurisdictions: EY law launches in Sweden with Stockholm office

Ernst & Young’s (EY) legal team has launched in Sweden with the hire of a six member team in Stockholm, including two partners from Swedish commercial law firm Delphi, completing its coverage of Scandinavia.

Marcus Nivinger will focus on practice areas including capital markets, M&A, private equity and venture capital, with Paula Hogéus specialising in labour and employment law.

The appointments are part of EY’s recruitment drive to position itself as a multi-disciplinary professional services organisation with integrated legal services. The firm hired Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Richard Norbruis in June 2014 to head its global transaction group while it obtained an Alternative Business Structure licence in the UK in December 2014.

In a statement, EY’s global law leader Cornelius Grossmann said: ‘Our growth strategy is quality-driven. The exact scope of services offered in each jurisdiction varies depending on the maturity of the EY practice, the regulatory environment and the needs of the local market. By 2017, we expect to have a presence in more than 80 jurisdictions covering all major markets – except for the US – providing us with a competitive advantage.’

kathryn.mccann@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘We are offering something new’: EY latest Big Four giant granted ABS licence

‘We are offering something new’: EY latest Big Four giant granted ABS licence

EY has become the latest accountancy giant granted an alternative business structure (ABS) licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, in a bid to provide ‘integrated, multidisciplinary’ legal services across England and Wales.

Announced this morning (1 December), EY intends to provide corporate, commercial, employment and financial services legal advice alongside its existing services.

Having made several hires from private practice in recent months, EY’s legal team will be led by Philip Goodstone, who joined from Addleshaw Goddard, and Matthew Kellett, who was recruited from Berwin Leighton Paisner. Kellett will lead financial services, while Goodstone will head up all other services. Former Olswang employment head Daniel Aherne will build and lead the employment law team and a further 30 people will be recruited in the next six months.

EY’s UK chairman and regional managing partner in the UK & Ireland, Steve Varley, said: ‘We aren’t competing with the business models of traditional law firms; we are offering something new. By working closely with other parts of the organisation, clients will benefit from our global scale, in-depth industry knowledge as well as having a single point of contact for all of their professional service needs.

‘Whether advising on large transactions, employment structures or group reorganisation projects, having lawyers, accountants and other professional advisers working side by side will be a real advantage to our clients and ultimately help us to provide a better level of service.’

Philip Goodstone added: ‘While we are still in the recruitment phase, we have already received strong levels of interest from a number of clients. Our priority is now to grow the team to ensure that we are able to meet this demand. We welcome the opportunity to build a quality UK offering with both junior and experienced lawyers in a strong multidisciplinary practice.’

EY’s global law practice already has over 1100 people in 60 locations and in the last 12 months has created legal teams in Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand.

In early October, KPMG acquired an ABS licence and became the first of the Big Four to be awarded a licence to operate on a multidisciplinary basis.

PwC made the first move, announcing in late January that it had received approval from the SRA to become an ABS, meaning it can now directly own limited liability partnership, PwC Legal, and bring together its 2,000-lawyer network.

The last of the Big Four, Deloitte, has kept the lowest profile in terms of its plans for expansion in the legal market. Having previously denied any plans to set up an ABS, it announced the appointment of Rotterdam-based Piet Hein Meeter as global managing director of Deloitte Legal, in June to build an international legal practice.

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

‘We can minimise the gap between business advisers and legal counsel’: EY admits Singapore boutique into network

‘We can minimise the gap between business advisers and legal counsel’: EY admits Singapore boutique into network

As Big Four accountancy giant EY continues to grow its legal services offering, it has today (2 October) announced it has brought Singaporean boutique firm PK Wong & Associates into its global network as an independent member.

The news comes just months after PK Wong ended its formal law alliance with Lawrence Graham as the City firm prepared for its recent merger with Wragge & Co.

Specialising in corporate and commercial work, PK Wong will now work closely with EY’s assurance, tax, transactions and advisory teams to provide ‘complementary, commercially focused advice to clients in Singapore and the rest of the Asean region’.

The firm was founded in 2004 by Wong Peng Koon (PK Wong) – previously senior partner at Singapore’s third-oldest firm Braddell Brothers – and barrister Mark Wong.

EY Asean and Singapore managing partner Max Loh said: ‘With the addition of legal services into our existing suite of services, we can help to minimise the gap between business advisers and legal counsel, and provide companies in Singapore and Asean with the trusted advice and business agility that they increasingly need to navigate the opportunities and risks across different markets’.

The entry of PK Wong to the EY network follows that of Shanghai-based law firm, Chen & Co, which become a member firm in January, while EY established its own of its legal services capability in Vietnam in April.

EY has been assessing its options in Asia for some time, and last December hired Herbert Smith Freehills’ Singapore partner John Dick, who specialises in energy & resources, South East Asia regional foreign investment and infrastructure.

Dick, who is now Asean law leader at EY, said: ‘In the past year, we have focused on the development of our legal services capability in Asia-Pacific, specifically Asean. Key to the development in Asean is to have a strong hub out of Singapore, and with PK Wong & Associates joining us, we have laid the foundation for our regional platform’.

EY currently offers legal services in more than 50 countries with over 1,200 lawyers.

This latest news follows the announcement by KPMG yesterday (1 October) that it has been awarded an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to operate on a multi-disciplinary basis.

In July, PwC made its own moves to enhance its legal offering in Asia-Pacific, and entered into a tie-up in Singapore with local firm Camford Law. The 10-lawyer corporate outfit joined its global network but operates as a separate partnership and retains its name.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

EY hires Freshfields’ Richard Norbruis to head global transaction group

EY hires Freshfields’ Richard Norbruis to head global transaction group

EY has made its third senior private practice hire in three months months with the announcement that Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Richard Norbruis is to lead the accountancy giant’s global transaction law practice.

The Amsterdam-based corporate and M&A lawyer has been a partner at Freshfields for nearly 15 years, after joining from the New York office of NautaDutilh where he was managing partner. Since May 2011, he has acted as Freshfields’ global people partner with responsibility for recruitment, retention, diversity, partner development and leadership.

The hire constitutes the third high profile lateral EY has made in recent months, most recently following the appointment of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP’s) former head of finance Matthew Kellett to spearhead EY’s financial services legal work. Kellett, who resigned from the top 20 firm last October, is due to start at EY in September.

In March it recruited Addleshaw Goddard’s corporate managing partner Philip Goodstone in one of the first steps towards boosting its UK legal capability via lateral hiring.

The appointment of longstanding Addleshaws partner Goodstone, whose previous clients include Admiral Taverns, Accrue Capital, The Cooperative Group, and Standard Life Investments, marked a step change by the Big Four accountant, which since last year has been considering its options for expansion under the Legal Services Act 2007, including acquiring an alternative business structure (ABS) licence.

Last year also saw EY hire the former managing partner of Freehills’ Singapore office, John Dick; a precursor to its expansion plans in the region, as in March EY formally announced plans to expand its legal services business throughout Asia over the coming year.

EY has previously said it is looking to expand its offering across Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Korea and Indonesia, subject to regulatory requirements.

Sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

GC appointments for EY, HarperCollins and BNY Mellon

Reshuffles see trio promoted to fill senior roles

Three high-profile in-house counsel appointments in the UK and US last month saw accountancy giant EY, publishing house HarperCollins and global investment bank BNY Mellon fill their senior general counsel (GC) roles.

EY promoted its Americas legal chief Michael Solender to global vice chair and GC, which will see him carry out a global reorganisation of the EY legal function and integrate EY’s internal legal operations worldwide.

Legal Business

EY grows UK legal capability with hire of BLP’s former finance head Matthew Kellett

EY grows UK legal capability with hire of BLP’s former finance head Matthew Kellett

EY today (29 April) took further steps to build its UK legal capability with the hire of Berwin Leighton Paisner’s (BLP’s) former head of finance Matthew Kellett, with Kellett set to spearhead the accounting giant’s financial services legal work.

Kellett, who resigned from the top 20 firm last October, will start at EY in September, as the Big Four accountant steadily develops its UK and global legal capabilities, including in March hiring Addleshaw Goddard’s corporate managing partner Philip Goodstone.

A spokesperson for EY said today: ‘We can confirm that EY has appointed Matthew Kellett, who will be joining the firm as a partner in the autumn. The appointment has been made with a view to building a legal capability for EY in the UK, subject to regulatory approval, which would complement the firm’s existing service offerings.

‘He is joining EY to head up the proposed legal capability in the financial services market.’

EY last year hired the former managing partner of Freehills’ Singapore office, John Dick; a precursor to larger expansion plans in the region, as in March EY formally announced plans to expand its legal services business throughout Asia over the coming year.

Earlier this year EY entered the Chinese market via the acquisition of Shanghai-based law firm Chen & Co. So far the only other major accountancy firm that has a legal presence in Asia is Deloitte, through its tie-up with Chinese law firm Qin Li law firm.

EY has said it is looking to expand its offering across Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Korea and Indonesia, subject to regulatory requirements.

Kellett, meanwhile, who stayed with BLP until the firm found a replacement head in the form of projects and infrastructure partner Adam Dann, sparked with his resignation a review of BLP’s finance practice, conducted by Jomati Consultants.

Other resignations to hit the 786-lawyer firm’s finance practice include Trevor Wood, who left for US firm Mayer Brown last year to be reunited with former colleague Richard Todd. Real estate finance duo Andrew Flemming and Jo Solomon left to join Hogan Lovells in March; banking and capital markets partner Paul Simcock and former head of restructuring Ben Larkin joined Jones Day in March and February respectively; and acquisition finance partner Marcus Jamson, joined Wedlake Bell in January.

David.stevenson@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

GC appointments for EY, HarperCollins and BNY Mellon

GC appointments for EY, HarperCollins and BNY Mellon

A trio of high-profile in-house counsel appointments in the UK and US this month has seen accountancy giant EY and global investment bank BNY Mellon fill their senior general counsel (GC) roles as publishing house HarperCollins promotes its director of legal affairs Simon Dowson-Collins to UK GC.

EY has promoted its Americas legal chief Michael Solender to global vice chair and GC, which will see him carry out a global reorganisation of the EY legal function and integrate EY’s internal legal operations worldwide, a statement said last Thursday (17 April).

A former partner at US firm Arnold & Porter, Solender has served as EY’s Americas vice chair and GC since 2009. 

Solender will remain based in New York but will spend significant time with the executive team in London. He is succeeded by Ron Hauben, who previously served as deputy GC.

Solender said: ‘I look forward to the opportunity to advise EY’s leadership and head the legal function around the world. This opportunity comes at a pivotal time for EY as we implement our Vision 2020 plan to make EY the leading global professional services organisation.’

Elsewhere HarperCollins announced last Wednesday (16 April) that Dowson-Collins will take over as GC of the company’s UK arm, adding oversight of compliance and government affairs to his existing responsibilities. He will continue to report to group managing director Simon Johnson.

Johnson said: ‘Simon has led the legal and contracts teams to consistently deliver an outstanding service to our business and our authors. They are increasingly front and centre, adding huge value to our most important commercial negotiations. I’m delighted to be able to recognise the contribution Simon has made as well as formalising the additional responsibilities he has been undertaking in recent months.’

Meanwhile, global investment bank BNY Mellon also last week promoted its senior deputy GC Kevin McCarthy to senior executive vice president and GC to succeed Jane Sherburne, who has decided to leave BNY Mellon to ‘consider opportunities in both the public and private sectors’.

A statement from BNY Mellon said: ‘[Jane] was instrumental in helping the company successfully navigate a broad range of complex issues and respond to historic changes in the global legal and regulatory landscape.’

McCarthy will now report to BNY Mellon chairman and CEO Gerald Hassell and become a member of the executive committee.

McCarthy joined BNY Mellon in 2010 from publicly-traded investment bank and financial services firm Cowen Group where he served as GC. From 1996 to 2004, the former Wilmer Pickering Hale and Dor litigation partner held several leadership roles at Credit Suisse First Boston, including as global lead of litigation.

On the appointment, Hassell said: ‘Kevin has deep market knowledge and expertise in our global businesses. He has worked closely with me, our board and senior management on our most critical legal and regulatory matters, and has become a trusted advisor to all of us.’

sarah.downey@legalease.co.uk

Legal Business

Bluechips continue to grow legal teams as buyside lawyers shift from external counsel

Bluechips continue to grow legal teams as buyside lawyers shift from external counsel

Bluechips continue to grow legal teams as buyside lawyers shift from external counsel

In-house departments are expanding rapidly and overshadowing private practice growth as corporates plan to further bolster their internal legal capability.

Both recent statistics and developments on the ground indicate that corporates are increasingly addressing issues such as regulatory and compliance pressures, as well as budgetary restraints, by expanding their internal capabilities.