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EY to build ‘legal capability’ in UK

EY appoints UK legal partner but remains silent on whether it will apply for alternative business structure

EY is to establish a “legal capability” in the UK, the firm has confirmed.

Managing partner of City law firm Addleshaw Goddard, Philip Goodstone, will join EY as a partner in September.

As yet, EY has not confirmed whether it will seek alternative business structure status, nor has it made clear if further appointments will be made.

EY said in a statement: “We can confirm that EY has appointed Philip Goodstone, who will be joining the firm as a partner in September. The appointment has been made with a view to building a legal capability for EY in the UK, subject to regulatory approval, which would complement the firm’s existing service offerings.”

Last year, the ICAEW was awarded the right to regulate probate services and license alternative business structures after agreement from the Legal Services Board.

The ability for member firms to be able to offer wider probate services has long been sought by the institute, while ABS licensing allows for accountants and solicitors to joint-own firms.

Alternative business structures were introduced under the Legal Services Act 2007, as part of opening up the legal services market. Also known as multi-disciplinary practices, the structures can have some external ownership and investment, and also a mix of lawyers and non-lawyers working together in client-facing role.

EY entered the legal services market earlier this year when it launched a legal arm in China by incorporating local firm Chen & Co into its network. The Big Four firm created an affiliation with the Shanghai-outfit, as opposed to a shared-ownership structure, in a bid to tap China’s growing legal services market, sister publication Legal Week reported at the time.

Chen & Co, a 75-lawyer firm founded in 1998, will remain a separate, licensed Chinese firm but is ultimately expected to move into EY’s offices in the Shanghai World Financial Centre.

In February, the legal arm of PwC was awarded dual alternative business structure (ABS) licences by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority (SRA), meaning that PwC can become an owner of PwC Legal, which provides a range of legal services including immigration, corporate, finance and regulation.

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