Clayton Utz snags EY partner, launches forensic practice

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A top firm has hired an industry veteran from a global accounting giant and launched a new practice in Australia. Clayton Utz has tapped Paul Fontanot to lead a dedicated national Forensic & Technology Services practice.

Most recently partner at global accounting firm EY, Fontanot will join the firm in Sydney on 1 March as a partner. He was the Asia-Pacific quality and risk leader for the global accounting firm’s fraud investigation and disputes team.

Clayton Utz becomes the first large law firm in Australia to establish its own forensic practice, a departure from the custom of outsourcing fraud investigations to firms such as EY.

Fontanot has been working in Sydney since 2008. He joined EY in Johannesburg in 1998. In his two decades with the team, he worked with multinational clients to identify and manage fraud and corruption and cyber-risk.

According to Clayton Utz, Fontanot is an expert in fraud and regulatory investigations, designing and implementing anti-fraud programs and corporate compliance programs, managing IT forensic analysis, preservation and data review programs, and forensic accounting.

Fontanot and his new team will offer clients forensic investigation, forensic accounting, forensic technology and front-end transaction services, said Clayton Utz chief executive partner Rob Cutler. The firm sees the new practice complementing other practices of the firm, enabling the firm to better respond to changing client demands that now includes identifying and managing fraud and corruption risk.

“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,” said Fontanot.

EY recently expanded its legal practice, making several senior hires around the world including former Freshfields partner Junzaburo Kiuchi, who has been appointed as EY Law’s Japan managing partner. The firm has also snagged lawyers from Allen & Overy in the Netherlands, Olswang in France, CMS von Erlach Poncet in Switzerland, DLA Piper in Spain, CMS Cameron McKenna in Hungary, and a large Swiss company.

Paul Fontanot

Related stories:
Professional services firm expands legal practice
PwC integrates UK legal and accountancy arms

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