KPMG recently announced the launch of a new Global Legal Operations Transformation Service. In this interview with Asia Law Portal, Stuart Fuller, Head of Global Legal Services, KPMG International, explains this new service focus — and the firm’s plans for expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.
KPMG recently announced the launch of a new Global Legal Operations Transformation Service which is focused on supporting GCs to “adapt to a new reality”. What challenges are GC’s facing and how will KPMG help them transcend those challenges?
In the wake of Covid-19, GCs have had to confront the business need to automate and digitalize their operations faster than ever and this presents new challenges. At the same time, regulatory demands continue to grow and GCs are finding that traditional approaches to the legal function, and the traditional approaches to the providers of legal services, are no longer fit for purpose in the new world. While these trends were already underway before the pandemic, the need to transform operations is more urgent now; it has become a business imperative. Our Global Legal Operations Transformation Services team provides clients with a wide range of global strategies and cross-border capabilities to help, which are technology-enabled and data driven. They have a laser focus on results and they are delivering significant and measurable improvement for legal functions across KPIs, such as productivity, customer satisfaction and quality measures―results that are crucial for organizations in the current climate.
In the last 10 years – several legal services organizations (often referred to as NewLaw firms) and law firms – have established and currently maintain lawyer secondment and technology enablement services focused on the GC in the Asia-Pacific region. How are KPMG’s services similar and distinct from these NewLaw and law firm GC-focused services?
Our offering is unique in that it is truly global and in that we can bring an array of strengths and solutions to the challenges GCs face – a unique combination of our legal advisory services, technology-enabled solutions and managed services. We draw on all of the strengths of KPMG professionals across our firms, not just in legal and technology, but also Lean Six Sigma, Human-Centred Design and Systems Thinking among others. And we work as an integrated team with colleagues across KPMG member firms in other disciplines, so we are able to provide insights, solutions and a breadth of capability and support that go beyond standalone NewLaw offerings.
KPMG has a wide geographic reach in the APAC region. Will KPMG, therefore, be taking these new GC-focused services beyond the markets where NewLaw services are traditionally offered in the APAC region (e.g. Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia)?
Yes, we see a growing demand for these types of services throughout the Asia Pacific region, not just in the big centers as was previously the case.
As mentioned above, there are now numerous NewLaw services offered to the GC in the APAC region. Is the market, therefore, saturated?
We believe there is a strong demand for these services to be delivered in a multidisciplinary, integrated way, and indeed, we see this in the demand from our clients. While there are many transformation offerings, the breadth of our offering – both in terms of capability and footprint – means that ours is filling a need that is still growing.
How does KPMG conduct business development for its GC-focused services?
We build long-lasting relationships across accounts, and this includes with GCs and legal departments. Often, our work in advisory or tax services with an organization will have legal aspects to it, such as in restructuring work, and in such cases, our connections within our team and the rest of the firm, within our existing relationships with the client and with our colleagues in other functional areas are all key to our ability to introduce our capabilities to the GC and their team. Likewise, when a legal matter that we are supporting a client with has other business implications, we can bring in our colleagues in other areas, and the GCs appreciate the ability to bring our experience and insights in other matters to their peers in tax and finance.
What are KPMG’s plans for the APAC region for the next 10 years?
The Asia Pacific region is currently one of our fastest-growing, and we expect to see this continue in the next decade in line with predicted GDP growth. The IMF projects ASEAN to grow at around 6% in 2021 and to continue to drive significant economic growth in the years ahead, and we would expect demand for our services to grow at pace. We are committed to strongly growing our legal team in the region to match the growth in demand from clients for our services.