EY has announced the acquisition of a 1,000 strong managed legal services business from Thomson Reuters, marking another step forward in the Big Four audit firm’s push into the legal sector.
The deal follows EY’s acquisition of tech-heavy alternative legal provider Riverside Law in August which was widely seen in the sector as underlining EY’s aggressive expansion plans.
EY said the latest deal would strengthen its contract lifecycle management, regulatory risk and compliance, and investigations and litigation offerings.
Mark Weinberger, EY global chairman and chief executive, said: “This new enhanced offering will make EY one of the leading professional services organisations for global legal advisory services and legal operations services, including legal function advisory, managed services and technology. The acquisition is an example of how EY is working to provide clients with holistic solutions, which are enabled by technology.”
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019, subject to the satisfaction of various closing conditions.
The deal comes as the Big Four are under increased political scrutiny in the UK, following high-profile scandals such as the collapse of Carillion and BHS.
A report this week by MPs called for the break-up of the Big Four into audit and non-audit arms.
Any breakup could help the accountants in their attempts to crack the legal market by reducing conflicts.
EY was forced to stop working with legacy Riverview client Vodafone after it acquired the business as it acts as Vodafone’s auditor, Legal Week reported this week.
Deloitte, the last of the Big Four to launch a UK legal business, recently hired senior Allen & Overy partner Michael Castle to spearhead its legal expansion.