KLegal sets its sights on projects practice

KLegal is launching an assault on the competitive projects market and bolstering the number of lawyers in its fledgling team.

KPMG’s associate law firm has taken on Arnold & Porter partner and projects specialist Geoff Haley as a consultant. Joining with him is Pinsent Curtis projects lawyer Nick Zentner.

Both new faces will report to leading PFI partner Gareth Davies, who quit Simmons & Simmons earlier this year to head KLegal’s project finance group (The Lawyer, 10 January).

Davies concedes the projects market is extremely competitive and the firm will have its work cut out to start winning clients.

But he adds it is an essential market for KLegal as it moves towards becoming a full multidisciplinary partnership as and when Law Society rules permit.

“Other parts of KPMG already do projects work, both tax and auditing on the PFI side and also corporate finance and consulting. It is something with a lot of leverage, Davies says.”

Davies adds that the new tenants mean the firm can start pitching for work. It will be competing against City-based projects stalwarts such as Denton Wilde Sapte, Davies’ old firm Simmons & Simmons and most of the magic circle firms.

But Davies is confident the firm will build up a strong client base. “Project finance work involves quite a lot of personal networks and relationships. Clients tend to like to work with people they know and respect,” he says.

Haley joined Arnold & Porter as a partner in 1998. Prior to that he had been head of SJ Berwin‘s infrastructure group, and before that, a partner at Theodore Goddard.