Novartis legal and compliance solutions head jumps to EY for new legal managed services role

Santosh Singh joins accountancy giant in Hyderabad as Big Four push for bigger slice of legal market

Santosh Singh Image courtesy of EY

EY has hired the head of legal and compliance solutions at healthcare giant Novartis with a brief to grow its managed legal services capabilities.

Santosh Singh joins the Big Four accounting giant in the newly-created role of EY global legal managed services delivery leader and brings more than 20 years’ experience in strategy, service delivery and change management across a range of industries. 

At EY he will oversee teams spanning seven countries from his base in Hyderabad.

John Knox, EY global legal managed services leader, said Singh “has a well-earned reputation as a leader who understands how to develop strategy and build high-performing and collaborative teams”, adding that he “has worked with some of the most high-profile organisations in the world and is well placed to help build the Enterprise Legal Services platform.”

Prior to Novartis, Singh served as vice president of alternative legal services provider Axiom and spent almost a decade in various leadership roles for Indian business services giant Infosys, including head of transitions and services head of client operations. Earlier in his career he also served as a process lead at Dell.

Singh commented that the legal and compliance industry “is on the cusp of major transformation, where deep subject matter expertise and the power of innovative technologies will play a key role.” He added that EY’s experience in law and technology make it “well placed to help clients mitigate complex business challenges and drive value. Growth across EY Legal Managed Services has been impressive, and the next few years promise to be very exciting.”

EY joins rivals KPMG and Deloitte in ramping up its services to corporate legal departments. In May last year, Deloitte Legal hired Luminance chief executive Emily Foges to lead its managed legal services business in London, while Deloitte has also made a series of senior legal consultancy hires in the US including that of Oya Solutions founder and CEO Teju Deshpande and her team last month.

And last October, KPMG launched a global legal operations consultancy service in a bid to ramp up its work advising legal departments on digitalisation.

A recent report from LexisNexis indicated just how much the Big Four’s legal arms have grown in the past few years, with their global reach and tech integration potentially leaving some law firms outgunned. According to the report they’ve changed their approach to the legal industry and, rather than trying to look as much like traditional law firms as possible, are combining process efficiencies and tech to provide everyday legal services at scale,

And it does seem to be working, with PwC Legal UK reportedly doubling its revenue in the last five years to £100m and KPMG Law’s UK arm almost quadrupling it. All four are also gradually increasing the number of fee earners within their legal services teams and have hired talent from top firms. PwC has by far the most in the UK, with roughly 400, while Deloitte and EY each boast around 170 and KPMG just shy of 150.

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