'Big 4' firm moves to strengthen global legal services offer

HSF helps CEFC enter build-to-rent market... Stop using client accounts as banks regulator tells firms...

'Big 4' firm moves to strengthen global legal services offer

EY has announced an acquisition to bolster its push into the global legal services market.

The Big Four services firm has acquired leading innovative legal services firm Riverview Law to help enhance and scale its EY Law legal managed services offering.

Riverview’s technology practice uses a disruptive software from Kim Technologies for delivery of its legal services.

The acquisition is led by Chris Price, EY Global Head of Alliances – Tax, who will become CEO of EY Riverview Law once the acquisition is complete. He believes there is a need for a wider range of services.

“I have yet to meet a general counsel function that is under employed, so providing a simple mechanism to assess tasks, assess the requisite skills to achieve those tasks and allocating internal and external advisor skillsets appropriately while helping the legal function to drive the maximum value and service quality is what we will seek to do,” he said.

The acquisition, which is conditional on the satisfaction of closing conditions, is expected to complete on 31 August 2018. Riverview Law will be known as EY Riverview Law.

HSF helps CEFC enter build-to-rent market
A team from Herbert Smith Freehills in Sydney have advised the Clean Energy Finance Corporation on its first investment in the Australian build-to-rent market.

CEFC has invested A$50 million in the newly-launched Australian Build to Rent Club founded by Mirvac.

HSF partners Fiona Smedley and Nicholas Cowie led the team advising CEFC along with consultant James Graham, and senior associates Yorick Ng and Japonica Sheridan.

“The CEFC’s cornerstone investment in the ABTRC demonstrates its leadership in the energy efficiency space. We are elated to have facilitated a transaction that will embed a range of clean energy initiatives into new residential communities,” explained Smedley.

Herbert Smith Freehills have advised CEFC on several past transactions including its investment commitments to the agriculture platform of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, Morrison & Co Growth Infrastructure Fund, and Dexus Healthcare Wholesale Property Fund.

Stop using client accounts as banks regulator tells firms
Law firms in the UK have been reminded that client accounts are for the use of funds during legitimate legal advice not for providing a safe place for client assets.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority says that effectively providing clients with banking services breaches the rules, risks firms facing disciplinary action, and risks damaging public trust in the legal profession.

The regulator says that law firms should also safeguard against allowing client accounts to be used to add credibility to questionable investment schemes.

“Law firms are not regulated to operate their client accounts as a banking facility for clients. They should not trade on their reputation to provide banking facilities, which can result in significant risks for the firm, as well as their clients and the wider public,” said Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive.

The SRA has prosecuted 20 lawyers and 3 firms for breaching rules on the use of client accounts in the last 12 months.

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