Traditional law firms viewed this ABS licence with scepticism as the big four accountants have relied on them for work. However, legal firms who:
Take the right attitude, do not risk the legal privilege of the client and EY and are not driven by traditional methods; but instead incorporate a traditional approach within a modern framework, will benefit from this ABS move.
Firms such as EY are not seeking to replace law firms, they simply cannot. It is merely the landscape that has shifted. Progressive models such as Riverview Law's barrister led model fit this new, fresh outlook perfectly.
EY became the third of the ‘big four’ to be granted an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2014 along with PwC Legal and KPMG. EY said at the time it expected to have a legal presence in more than 80 jurisdictions by 2017. ‘Even the biggest magic circle firms have a footprint in about 20 jurisdictions. We do other assignments where we’re covering 70 jurisdictions,’ Matthew Kellett (head of legal) said. At present the UK team has more than 40 lawyers, with plans to grow to 60 by the end of June. Goodstone said the UK team ‘should be something like 150 people or maybe more’ by 2020. The financial services legal team could grow to 75-100 lawyers