Deloitte opens legal business services practice in U.S.

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Deloitte has opened a legal business services practice in the U.S., expanding a line of business it has offered abroad.

The new practice will offer legal management consulting and managed services to help legal departments, but Deloitte won’t be turning into a law firm. The firm emphasized that it won’t be practicing law or offering legal advice to clients.

The U.S. launch is part of Deloitte’s effort to expand legal services internationally. Other Big Four firms such as PwC, KPMG and EY have also been expanding their legal services abroad and to some extent in the U.S. Deloitte is also facing competition from Andersen Global, the revived Arthur Andersen network, which has expanded from tax services into legal services, striking deals with both tax and law firms around the world. Deloitte is targeting corporate legal departments, however, specifically chief legal officers, who can leverage Deloitte’s industry expertise, technology and presence in over 80 countries.

“Legal departments are under pressure to transform as CLOs contend with new challenges brought on by the dizzying speed of business in a digital age while operating in a constrained budget environment,” said Deloitte Legal Business Services partner Dan Lange in a statement Monday. “Market analysis shows that many current external providers continue to replicate solutions of the past and deliver narrow services through traditional, siloed methods. Now, COVID-19 has catalyzed the need for accelerated change in legal departments, requiring them to reimagine their legal operations in real time. As the former global leader of Deloitte Tax & Legal, I am thrilled to continue to execute on our global strategic plan with the launch of Legal Business Services.”

The new Legal Business Services practice will build on some of Deloitte’s existing management consulting and managed services for corporate legal departments, including legal operating model design; contract lifecycle management; legal entity management; regulatory consulting; knowledge management; eDiscovery; data governance; legal invoice review and spend analytics; legal services and supplier sourcing; dispute analysis; and forensic investigations.

“Our rapid expansion of legal department operations capabilities is based on what we have learned over years of senior legal leadership interactions through our numerous legal department services and through our CLO Program,” said Deloitte Legal Business Services principal Don Fancher in a statement. “Technology and now COVID-19 are making day-to-day operations more complex and cost prohibitive. Legal Business Services enables CLOs to focus on C-suite level strategy by using technology and legal managed services to streamline other more labor-intensive efforts, all while enhancing the overarching value of the corporate legal department.”

Deloitte is also bringing into the new practice several experienced hires from its Deloitte Tax practice, including principal Mark Ross and managing directors Richard Levine and Lewis Christian.

“In leveraging its global scale, cross-functional capabilities, and subject matter proficiency, Deloitte is extremely well-equipped to orchestrate an integrated ecosystem of services and advanced technologies that will redefine both the traditional and alternative legal services industries,” Ross said in a statement. “This powerful combination of resources is exactly why I recently joined Deloitte, and why we are set to transform — among other areas — the in-house contract management function.”

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