A top-10 accountancy firm says it is ready to expand its legal services offering after hiring a new leader.

RSM Legal LLP, established last April by the international audit and tax expert RSM, has appointed Carolyn Brown as its first head of client legal services.

She joins from London firm Howard Kennedy where she was head of employment. The appointment will mean the firm, approved as an alternative business structure by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, will offer advice on corporate employment legal rights, legal risk assessment and claims and relationship structures.

Brown said there are gaps in the market where an external force can make an impact.

‘Middle-market businesses are currently facing a number of employment law challenges,’ she added.

‘Whether it’s change-management projects or mergers, contentious employment disputes or compliance obligations or adding value through guidance to their leaders, we see real opportunities to assist our existing client base.’

David Gwilliam, RSM’s chief operating officer, said the company will initially focus on providing employment law advice, but the firm expects to expand its legal services practice in future.

RSM is the UK’s seventh-largest firm of audit, tax and consulting services with revenues approaching £300m a year. The firm has 3,400 partners and staff operating from 35 locations throughout the UK.

It is the latest accountancy outfit to move into legal services provision: PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG have all opened legal businesses, while the accountants’ regulator, the ICAEW, has applied to regulate all reserved legal activities. The institute already regulates more than 250 firms to provide probate services.