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National firm dives into new practice area

National firm dives into new practice area

Paul Fontanot

A top-tier national firm has announced it has rolled out a new practice to keep up with growing client demand.

Clayton Utz has revealed it has launched a new forensic and technology services practice which it says will enable the firm to better respond to increasing demand from clients, while complementing its full service legal offering.

Clayton Utz chief executive partner Rob Cutler said the new practice will offer clients the complete package of forensic investigation, forensic accounting, forensic technology and front end transaction service, while assisting them in identifying and managing fraud and corruption risk at an early stage.

"Our existing Legal Technology Services (LTS) practice, led by Jonathan Prideaux, has worked alongside our practice groups for many years, particularly our dispute resolution practice, to provide our clients with tailored, innovative electronic data and evidence management and legal project management solutions,” Mr Cutler said.

"We're now building on that capability by expanding services in forensic investigations, forensic accounting, including forensic data analytics, which reflects our clients' needs for these services and enables us to take a complete service to the market."

Mr Cutler noted that the current online environment means the need for this sort of practice comes at no greater time.

"We talk to our clients all the time, and they've been telling us they want this enhanced offering as a complement to our top-tier core legal services offering," he said.

"Based on the positive feedback and enquiries we've already received from clients, and the excitement level with the partnership, we're confident the practice will deliver the capability our clients need at a cost that's very competitive."

The new practice will be headed up by Paul Fontanot (pictured) who has been recruited from global accounting firm EY, where he was a partner and Asia-Pacific quality and risk leader in the firm’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS) team.

Throughout his career, Mr Fontanot has worked with a broad range of clients in identifying and managing fraud and corruption risk, as well as cyber risk. His experience includes conducting fraud and regulatory investigations, designing and implementing anti-fraud programs and corporate compliance programs, managing IT forensic analysis, preservation and data review programs, as well as forensic accounting.

Mr Fontanot will officially join Clayton Utz’s Sydney office on 1 March.

Commenting on his upcoming role, Mr Fontanot said, "Clayton Utz is one of the leading law firms in Australia and a leader in LTS and dispute resolution advice and services, and my experience will complement that.

“Clients are increasingly grappling with issues such as cyber risk, the impact of global anti-bribery legislation and contract risk in the supply chain. We can help them identify and manage that risk in a practical way, under one firm."

Mr Cutler added, “Paul's experience, particularly in advising multinationals on investigations and risks, will be hugely valuable to our clients.”

"Bringing the right person onboard to lead the practice was our top priority, and we went through an exhaustive recruitment process. We believe we have the right leader in Paul, given his deep and impressive experience in forensic accounting, fraud and regulatory investigations and related services."

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