The Big Four professional services firms’ renewed foray into the legal services market is continuing with KPMG the latest to announce an expansion.
The professional services firm said it has opened an associate law firm in Hong Kong and plans to open another in Shanghai.
The Hong Kong firm, which will be known as SF Lawyers, will initially begin by hiring four senior lawyers and two senior associates over the next few months. It plans to add around 20 lawyers in the first year and will focus on areas including mergers & acquisitions, deals and infrastructure projects. The Shanghai firm is expected to open later in the year.
Honson To, chair of KPMG Asia Pacific and China, said KPMG’s global legal services network had grown by 30% in 2018 alone and has ’significant ambitions’ for further growth.
The news follows hot on the heels of rival Big Four firm Deloitte’s revelation that it had hired former magic circle partner Michael Castle to head its UK legal arm.
Both Deloitte and KPMG say they will also offer ‘technology enabled legal services’ while KPMG said it will invest in robotics, AI and other technologies.
The opening of the office coincides with plans by Hong Kong’s Law Society to scale back the share of the sector held by foreign lawyers. The Law Society proposes to limit the number of foreign lawyers by ensuring that firms hire two local lawyers to every one foreigner. At the moment, the ratio is one-to-one.