Legal Business Blogs

‘We are not trying to be a standalone law firm’ – PwC Legal to integrate into wider accountancy practice through MDP

PwC Legal is to integrate into the wider accountancy firm PwC UK from tomorrow (1 October), enabling the outfit to operate as a multi-disciplinary practice instead of a standalone LLP.

The move follows the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) approval of an alternative business structure (ABS) licence in 2014 for PwC Legal, which is now completely owned by PwC.

Commenting on the move Shirley Brookes, senior partner at PwC Legal said: ‘We’ve invested heavily in our people and skills and all of our practice areas grew this year. The integration into PwC is the logical step given the shared aim of both firms to deliver high-quality, high-value services to clients through strong relationships.’

PwC Legal currently has 16 partners, 26 directors and a 350-strong UK team based across London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Manchester and Belfast providing legal services across nine practices including corporate and banking, dispute resolution, cyber security and immigration.

Earlier this month, it was reported that revenue at the outfit had soared this financial year, from £48.5m to £59.9m, an increase of 25%. Net income stood at £11m, with £56m of the total revenue UK fee income. There are twelve levels of compensation at the accounting giant’s legal arm, with partner earnings ranging from £270,000 to £1.1m. The 26 directors are former non-equity partners of the PwC Legal LLP – the PwC UK partnership does not have non-equity partners.

Speaking to Legal Business in September, Brookes said that PwC’s strategy was not to mimic law firms, despite concerns that accountancy practices are taking a bite out of the traditional legal services market.

Brookes said: ‘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.’

She added: ‘Our pensions practice is totally integrated with the tax practice and the actuarial practice around structuring pension schemes – it has been our standout performer in terms of growth and profitability for probably the last three years.’

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.

In February 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.