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KPMG's associated law firm KLegal is bulking up its focus on IT with a new partner and a change of some departments' structures.
The firm is hiring Tarlo Lyons IT partner Michael Sinclair and combining its technology,-business and communications practice (Tec) with its intellectual property (IP) department to form a new technology group. Sinclair approached KLegal for a job after deciding that, because one of his largest clients was accountant KPMG, the move would make sense. He also talked to other firms before choosing his new home. Sinclair said: "I approached KLegal because, among other things, I act for KPMG and it seemed like a logical evolution in my relationship with them. "I have lots of existing contacts within KPMG and I wished to also exploit those in the wider context." Although KLegal is always quick to point out that it is not an in-house legal department for KPMG, a lot of the firm's clients come through KPMG referrals. One of the firm's biggest marketing priorities is to build relationships with KPMG accountants. Sinclair specialises in IT and business process outsourcing, including telephonic services, data centres and call centres. The partners in the Tec group will include: Chris Hoyle, the telecoms partner who joined from Steptoe & Johnson Rakisons; James Hodgson, the IP partner who was one of the founders of KLegal; Mark Haftke, who joined from Bird & Bird; and Alan Whitfield, the former head of legal at BT. Hoyle said: "I had previously attempted to recruit Michael, and thankfully he had the good sense not to join me where I was. We can't get enough good IT and telecoms lawyers here - if you look at the market today, with recession imminent, activities such as outsourcing are countercyclical." Sinclair has been a partner at Tarlo Lyons for two and half years, before which he worked in the IP and technology department at Linklaters & Alliance.