Deloitte prepares to take on the UK legal market

Deloitte is to become the last of the Big Four audit firms to enter the UK legal market after appointing a new chief of Deloitte Legal to draw up an action plan.

Amsterdam-based Piet Hein Meeter, who took over as global managing director of Deloitte Legal on 1 June, is looking to grow the network across the globe, with the UK top of his agenda. Currently Deloitte does not offer any legal services in the UK.

“There’s a definite need for scale and true global coverage,” said Meeter. “That will be one of my main focus areas for my term. The UK is definitely on the list and then some other things.”

It is not yet known whether Deloitte will look to establish a standalone but part-owned firm like PricewaterhouseCoopers’ PwC Legal or whether it will follow the lead of EY and KPMG and build up an internal team with a view to later spinning it out into a law firm.

Last week EY strengthened its presence in the UK legal sector through the hire of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Richard Norbruis to lead its global transaction law practice (3 June 2014). 

That hire came on the back of the arrival of former Berwin Leighton Paisner finance head Matthew Kellett, who joined EY to head its financial services legal capability (29 April 2014).

Unlike its Big Four rivals, which aside from PwC abandoned UK operations in the wake of the Enron scandal and the collapse of Arthur Anderson and Andersen Legal, Deloitte did not enter the UK market at the turn of the millennium.

Deloitte Legal, a network of firms operating in 56 countries across Asia, the Americas and the EMEA region, is currently made up of 1,300 lawyers.

Meeter, who joined Deloitte as part of the firm’s rescue of Arthur Andersen, took over the top job from Toronto-based Ian Tod, who has retired. Meeter was previously global managing director for tax and legal corporate development and strategic growth.