Outsourcing: driving continuous improvement – an interview with Jeremy Barton

Outsourcing: driving continuous improvement – an interview with Jeremy Barton

Think outsourcing and you inevitably think cost-cutting. But what other benefits can it bring to your business and how do you achieve these? Sophie Gould talks to Jeremy Barton, Partner and General Counsel at KPMG in the UK, about operational transformation, the importance ofpreparation, and how outsourcing can develop the skills ofthe legal team.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your team …

I’ve been General Counsel at KPMG for nearly two years, so I’m relatively new. I started off at Norton Rose then moved in-house at Andersen, where I was EMEA General Counsel. I stuck with Andersen through its Enron-triggered collapse and emerged as General Counsel ofthe Ernst & Young global organisation. I worked there for five years, driving the integration ofa $30bn professional services organisation. I then became global General Counsel and Head ofRisk at The Boston Consulting Group. I was there for eight years, building up a global team.

There are over 50 people in the KPMG team. It’s a combination oflawyers and non-lawyers. We have accountants in legal because historically the focus oflegal risk management has been on the regulated audit side ofthe business.

Since I joined, we’ve started a transformation programme. The first part ofthe transformation was around the organisation ofthe team. It was relatively compartmentalised so we’ve broken that down and reinforced being one team across the specialities: corporate, commercial and practice protection & regulatory.

We also established our strategic priorities for the next 2 to 3 years. One ofthose priorities is operational excellence and operational transformation is key to that. The first phase ofthe operational transformation included outsourcing and offshoring. As a result, we use an outsource provider in India and my own team is now based both in London and in Gurgaon in India.

How is the outsourcing working?

We started with NDAs. It’s a ubiquitous type ofdocument that highly qualified lawyers don’t really enjoy doing unless they

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About the author:
Sophie Gould is the Head of Lexis®PSL In-house. Sophie worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including seven years as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group. She has also run a legal risk and compliance training business.


Since joining LexisNexis in 2009 Sophie has worked on developing our legal and business content for the in-house legal community.  She also runs various networking and mentoring groups for in-house lawyers and works with schools to promote social mobility within the legal profession.