EY granted licence to offer legal services in the UK

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PROFESSIONAL services firm EY could be poised to hire lawyers in Yorkshire after being given permission to offer legal services in the UK.

EY, which employs around 340 staff in Leeds and Hull, has become the latest firm to be granted a licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, enabling it to provide legal services in England and Wales as an alternative business structure.

EY said it planned to provide corporate, commercial, employment and financial services legal advice alongside its existing services. The new team will be led by Philip Goodstone and Matthew Kellett. Mr Kellett will lead financial services, Mr Goodstone will head up all other services and Daniel Aherne has been hired to build and lead an employment law team. A further 30 people will be recruited in the next six months. It’s anticipated that some of these recruits will be in the UK regions.

Steve Varley, EY’s UK chairman and regional managing partner in the UK & Ireland, said: “We aren’t competing with the business models of traditional law firms; we are offering something new. By working closely with other parts of the organisation, clients will benefit from our global scale, in-depth industry knowledge as well as having a single point of contact for all of their professional service needs. Whether advising on large transactions, employment structures or group reorganisation projects, having lawyers, accountants and other professional advisers working side by side will be a real advantage to our clients and ultimately help us to provide a better level of service.”

Mr Goodstone said: “While we are still in the recruitment phase, we have already received strong levels of interest from a number of clients. Our priority is now to grow the team to ensure that we are able to meet this demand. We welcome the opportunity to build a quality UK offering with both junior and experienced lawyers in a strong multi-disciplinary practice.”

The creation of a UK legal services business continues the expansion of the firm’s global law practice, which already has more than 1,100 people in 60 locations. In the last 12 months, EY has also created legal teams in Mexico, Costa Rica, Singapore, China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand, and it will have a presence in more than 80 jurisdictions by 2017.