Deloitte Augments Legal Business Services With New Contracts Team

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Deloitte’s year-old campaign to boost its U.S. legal business services revenue is being spurred by a new addition of contracts management consultants, the Big Four accounting giant announced Monday.

Deloitte recently added Teju Deshpande and a team from her consultancy, Oya Solutions. The move caps a year of “dramatic growth” for Deloitte’s Legal Business Services practice, which works with in-house legal departments as they look to streamline functions that track client contracts, invoices, and eDiscovery, according to a Deloitte statement.

Deshpande is now a Chicago-based Deloitte principal in a unit that, when it was announced in 2020, was described by legal tech consultants as representing the most direct approach by a member of the Big Four to compete with law firms and alternative legal service providers in the U.S. Deloitte is expanding its offerings at the same time as a growing number of states are working to loosen rules that ban law firm ownership by nonlawyers.

“Our research indicates that increasing digitization of contract management is a high priority for most organizations,” Mark Ross, principal for Deloitte’s Legal Business Services, said in the statement. “Our clients are embracing the need to better understand how contracts are managed, with a true appreciation of data’s power.”

The statement did not say how many others joined Deshpande in making the move from Oya Solutions. A company spokeswoman didn’t respond to a question on the matter.

The company likewise did not provide specifics regarding its growth over the last year in its statement. In a recent interview, neither Steve Kimble, U.S-based CEO of Deloitte Tax, nor Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader Philip Mills, would discuss neither how many new corporate clients the legal business project has gained since it was unveiled nor its revenues.

The Big Four—which also include KPMG, PwC, and EY—have effectively been shut out of co-owning law firms or other operations that provide legal advice. American Bar Association Model Rule 5.4 , adopted in states across the country, bans attorneys and law firms from sharing “legal fees” with nonlawyers except in limited situations.

The accountancies have found other ways to compete and provide value in the United States, the world’s most lucrative legal services market.

This led to Deloitte’s launch in July of 2020 of its new U.S.-focused legal services unit, geared toward helping in-house legal departments become more tech-savvy by automating key functions and processes.

The new practice was designed to “transform” the business of law through consulting and technology services for corporate legal departments, Deloitte officials said at the time.

A few weeks after Deloitte’s roll out, Big Four competitor EY announced its own effort, which included a prediction that it would double its legal managed services revenues over the next 12 months.

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