04 May 2022

‘Once in a generation’ investment sees KPMG pledge to double size of UK legal arm

Big Four accountancy giant to take on a further 220 lawyers by the end of 2024

Logo on the side of KPMG's building in Canary Wharf

A view of the KPMG offices in Canary Wharf in London Shutterstock

KPMG is set to double the size of its UK legal arm over the next three years as part of a ‘once in a generation’ investment in its wider business. 

The Big Four firm will look to take on a further 220 lawyers – including 45 partners and directors – by the end of 2024, which will see the total number of practising lawyers increase to more than 400. 

The news follows KPMG’s UK partners backing plans to use the £300m made from the sales of the firm’s restructuring and pensions businesses last year for a ‘once in a generation’ investment into core and high growth areas. 

Jon Holt, chief executive of KMPG in the UK, said at the time the firm would invest in its multi-disciplinary services to help clients deal with the complex, often multi-jurisdictional challenges arising from the ‘triple whammy’ of Covid-19, climate change and Brexit. 

The company said the expansion of KMPG Law in the UK was a ‘critical element’ of its growth strategy, to support the long-term growth and ‘fundamental transformation’ of its UK business.

It added that the investment also reflected the importance of the UK, the second largest market in the world for legal services, to KPMG Global Legal Services’ growth strategy.

Stuart Fuller, KPMG’s head of global legal services, said the business was creating “a different type” of law offering.

“We’re delivering integrated legal services with high-performing lawyers supporting businesses across their geographic footprint," he added. "Few can match such reach.”

Nick Roome, head of KPMG Law in the UK, said: “The UK legal services market is growing and evolving rapidly. Technology is disrupting the market and clients are changing the way they buy legal services. As business leaders, in-house counsel and high net worth individuals face a myriad of complex issues, there is a real drive towards quality counsel that’s empowered by cutting-edge technology and is integrated with other advisory services. 

“This connected approach is a key principle that has shaped our vision for KPMG Law and has made our practice a critical element of KPMG’s future growth strategy.”

KPMG Law was set up in 2014 and operates out of five hubs across the UK in London, Birmingham, Reading, Leeds and Manchester. Globally it employs more than 3,000 lawyers working across 80 jurisdictions. 

A report by LexisNexis last September indicated just how much the Big Four's legal arms have grown in the past few years and that, rather than trying to look like traditional law firms, only bigger, they’re combining process efficiencies and tech to provide everyday legal services at scale. According to the report, KPMG Law’s UK arm almost quadrupled its revenue between 2016 and 2020, from £12m to £45m.

In November 2020, Deloitte heralded its own ‘key moment’ when it announced the acquisition of 29-partner London technology firm Kemp Little, which remains one of the most significant tie ups between a Big Four accountancy firm and a UK law firm ever to have been secured. At the time, the move doubled the size of its UK legal team to 170 lawyers.

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