Interview with: Nick Roome , Head of Legal Services

KPMG United Kingdom | View firm profile

What do you see as the main points that differentiate KPMG Legal Services from your competitors?

We are challenging the legal services market to do things differently. We see clients who want complete solutions to their business issues and having our lawyers operate in KPMG’s multidisciplinary environment means we are ideally placed to help deliver this. It’s about drawing on our firm’s breadth of knowledge and broader business perspective, combined with high quality legal expertise, to optimize what we offer. Lawyers at KPMG get to collaborate with colleagues in tax, consulting and deal advisory and with other non-legal specialists, to create solutions that most effectively address the business challenges facing KPMG’s clients. It’s about having the right people in the room and all on the same team.

Added to this, KPMG in the UK is part of a worldwide network that includes over 1650 lawyers practicing in over 75 countries. We combine global reach with a flexible delivery model that allows our clients to choose the level of support from us that is right for them – from providing services at a purely local level all the way up to coordinating the global provision of legal services in order to deliver complex transformational projects in multiple jurisdictions. We are present not just in international financial centers and state capitals but also in regional cities – our approach is global but we are, just as importantly, just around the corner for many of our clients.

Finally, we embrace the new digital legal age with open arms. We are a relatively new, emerging and disruptive player in the legal profession, operating in a competitive legal sector which has historically been slow to embrace technology. It is clear that our technology resources, business insights and clear desire to put technology at the heart of our strategy are key to our current and future success.

Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?

We are experiencing a tremendous rate of growth, attracting exceptionally talented lawyers and high quality work. While we continue to focus, grow and invest in all our legal service lines, we see great potential in building out our corporate and commercial business together with its adjacencies. While Brexit certainly remains an issue on the table for many of our clients, it is the individual challenges that change presents, around issues ranging from hindrances to cash flow, regulatory permissions, group structures, tax differentials amongst others, all the way to the primary objective of continuing to generate cost efficiencies and grow profits, that mean that our cross functional multidisciplinary model is best placed to help clients.

Overall, we expect to see strong demand for corporate and commercial services, contentious tax, financial services, deal advisory opportunities and employment. Our dedicated teams of experienced lawyers will continue to serve

clients on all of these fronts and more working as part of multi-disciplinary teams created from all strands of KPMG’s advisory and tax practices.

What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?

One of our key priorities is talent. We are investing in attracting and nurturing the best lawyers and enabling them to serve clients effectively on a multidisciplinary basis. We have recently welcomed a number of new partners and directors to the practice and will continue to do so. We are always seeking lawyers who can embrace the advantage that operating in a multi-disciplinary environment can bring, whilst operating under one of the world’s leading and most respected professional services brands.

Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?

Technology has and continues to radically change the way in which clients and lawyers deal with one another and we are actively developing platforms and tools to enhance the collective client experience, as well as to drive down costs on more standardized projects and engagements. We also have a strategy that aims to bring more transformative technologies into how we serve our clients. As a new entrant in the legal market we are well placed to build these enhancements into our way of working as we build out our teams and capabilities.

5) Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?

Brexit is expected to bring to an end the right for financial services to be provided on a pass ported basis around the European Union with a significant impact on banks and other financial institutions based in the UK who engage in cross border activity. We are coordinating legal teams across Europe, integrated with our financial services consulting, tax and other advisory teams, to deliver a complete transformation of the way one of the firm’s key clients undertakes and provides financial services. The engagement is a multiyear project which is purposed to ensure that business can be conducted in the EU and the UK on a substantively similar basis both before and after the UK leaves the EU. At the other end of the scale, we have just acted, in conjunction with our tax advisory team, for a fledgling hotel chain with a disruptive business model to successfully complete its Series B funding round. We are really excited about the scale and breadth of the practice our lawyers are developing with the wider firm.

Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?

The business challenges of today are multi-dimensional and rarely does a standalone legal solution provide the complete answer. KPMG Legal Services remains firmly anchored within the UK firm and its client relationships. By understanding our clients businesses and with the benefit of the firm’s wider knowledge and appreciation of the markets in which they operate, we are able to provide a better picture of the strategic landscape and the options available to clients from a legal perspective.

Through the relationships we hold with GC’s and in-house legal teams, we not only help them with their legal needs but also provide the wider perspective and insight that a firm like KPMG can offer. This can only be a good thing for GC’s looking to ensure that they bring strategic influence and broad business perspective to t