Accountants keep coming as Deloitte hires A&O banking partner as UK legal head

Deloitte has made a clear statement of intent in legal services by announcing today (14 January) that it has lured Allen & Overy (A&O) banking partner Michael Castle across to lead its UK legal arm, as the Big Four outfit looks for greater traction in the legal sector.

Based in Deloitte’s London office, Castle will now lead a technology-orientated legal offering for Deloitte, having spent more than two decades at A&O. Becoming an partner in 2007, Castle was not a standout name in a finance department replete with leading individuals but did gain profile in recent years after unsuccessfully running for the managing partner role at A&O, before eventually being beaten by current leader Andrew Ballheimer.

Deloitte revealed its ambitions on the UK legal market in January of last year, when the firm became the last of the Big Four to become an alternative business structure. The firm will now have to make up for any ground lost to its three rivals, with PwC, KPMG and EY all having a more established legal presence in the UK.

Currently, Deloitte has 2,500 legal professionals operating across 85 countries in the world, while in the UK it has over 50 practising lawyers and over 125 other fee earners, with both figures likely to rise this year. The hire of Castle, rather than a regional managing partner or general counsel, gives an indication of Deloitte’s intention to enter the legal mainstream moving forward.

thomas.alan@legalbusiness.co.uk

For more on the rise of the accountants in legal services, read ‘Who’s afraid of the Big bad Four?’