‘Big Four’ professional services firm EY has snapped up another legal sector heavyweight as it moves to double the size of its UK legal services team by the end of next year.  

Matthew Whalley (pictured), previously head of risk at international firm Berwin Leighton Paisner, will join the former Ernst & Young in January to spearhead EY’s legal risk practice.

EY was licensed to provide legal services in England and Wales as an alternative business structure in December 2014. Three of the Big Four - EY, PwC and KPMG - now offer legal services armed with an ABS licence and are viewed as an emerging competitive threat to mid-tier law firms in particular.

Matthew Kellett, EY’s financial services UK law leader, said: 'At a time when the regulatory lens is so keenly focused on how financial services firms are managing their risk, Matthew’s expertise will be extremely welcome to our financial services clients.

'Systematic assessment and mitigation of legal risk is a relatively new area and combines EY’s legal ambitions with its proven expertise in the risk assessment and mitigation arenas.’