Legal Business Blogs

Rise of the accountants: PwC’s legal arm posts 24% revenue jump to £59.9m

Revenue at PwC Legal has soared this financial year, from £48.5m to £59.9m, an increase of 25%. Led by senior partner Shirley Brookes, the legal arm of the accounting giant has also posted net income of £11m. Of the total revenue, £56m of that is UK fee income.

PwC Legal, which provides legal services across nine practices including corporate and banking, dispute resolution, cyber security and immigration, has seen its revenue grow steadily since the financial year 2013/14 when revenue was £42.2m.

Despite concerns that accounting firms are taking a bite out of the more traditional legal services market, Brookes is insistent that PwC Legal’s strategy is not to become like a law firm.

Brookes (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘Our strategy is dead simple. It is to offer to clients a legal service that compliments something that PwC is doing. We are not trying to be a standalone law firm, it has got to be that complimentary offering – that is our differentiator in the market.’

According to Brookes, each of the nine practice areas saw growth in this financial year, with pensions, employment, immigration and corporate restructuring all performing particularly well.

‘Our pensions practice is totally integrated with the tax practice and the actuarial practice around structuring pension schemes – they have been our standout performer in terms of growth and profitability for probably the last three years,’ says Brookes.

‘Our employment business is going really well – great growth in the last year. Immigration is one of our flagship offerings and goes from strength to strength. Immigration and our corporate reorganisation are probably our strongest networks in the PwC Legal network because they both play to the strengths of the huge geographical coverage that we’ve got.’

In June this year, PwC Legal hired former Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy partner Laetitia Costa to run its banking and finance team in London. Costa, who has over 15 years’ experience in leveraged finance, real estate and debt restructuring transactions will oversee the growth and development of the firm’s banking and finance practices.

Earlier this year PwC Legal made two key hires with the appointment of pensions partner David Farmer who joined from DLA Piper and corporate partner Thomas Colmer who was previously with Osborne Clarke.

Meanwhile, in July Big Four rival Ernst & Young appointed Axiom’s Aaron Stewart as a director to head up the launch of a legal services arm in Belfast.

According to EY, Stewart will be working with the accountant’s clients across the UK and will also be responsible for building and running a team in Belfast.