Deloitte adds contracts team, legal biz services unit seeing 'tremendous growth'

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The Deloitte Company logo seen on a commercial tower at Gurgaon, on the outskirts of New Delhi, August 9, 2012. REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma

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  • Co-founder and CEO of Oya Solutions joins with team
  • Deloitte created new U.S. practice in July 2020

(Reuters) - Just over a year after Deloitte launched its U.S. legal services practice, the Big Four professional services firm has expanded its capabilities in contract lifecycle management by bringing on the team from a consulting firm that focuses on that space.

Teju Deshpande and the rest of the team from Oya Solutions, the consulting shop she co-founded, have joined Deloitte, the firm said Monday. Deshpande described the opportunity for contract lifecycle management as "tremendous," and said Deloitte is well-positioned to bring a multidisciplinary approach to what she called a "very fragmented" space.

The contract lifecycle management (CLM) arena encompasses boutique consulting companies like Oya and alternative legal services and technology providers that approach managing contracts from different perspectives, such as building out a contracting playbook, implementing technology and managing data, she said.

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Contracting is "largely thought to be a legal activity," Deshpande said, but it really "affects the enterprise."

"We feel that Deloitte is uniquely positioned to do this well, and bring all of the fragmented pieces together to provide a holistic, comprehensive suite of services," she said.

Deloitte launched the U.S. legal business services practice in July 2020 to help "transform" corporate legal departments. Beyond contract lifecycle management, other services offered through the practice include legal entity management, e-discovery and knowledge management, the firm said at the time. That move came as the Big Four accounting continued to push further into the legal services space.

The Deloitte practice has seen "tremendous growth in the number of clients we've served," said partner Valerie Dickerson, who added that headcount and revenue have also grown. "It's been a very, very exciting and fast-paced year, with more to come," she said.

"Our research indicates that increasing digitization of contract management is a high priority for most organizations," Deloitte principal Mark Ross said in a statement. He added that the addition of Deshpande and the team "further accelerates our ability to support our clients' contract management transformation efforts."

Deshpande, a longtime innovator in the legal services space, joined Deloitte Tax as a Chicago-based principal. She founded Oya in 2019, which she said helped clients select contract management platforms, prepare for implementation and migrate legacy documents.

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com