“We are not trying to be a traditional law firm. Our approach is different, with a focus on offering our clients integrated global legal advice and solutions, where we are able to work seamlessly with existing KPMG clients who are looking for local and multijurisdictional counsel.”
The quote above, by Stuart Fuller of KPMG Australia, in today’s Australasian Lawyer is yet another great example of why law firms need to be on their guard and wary of the Big4’s re-entry back into the legal sector.
Well, here are my big 3 take-outs from Stuart’s comment:
- almost nobody is trying to be a ‘traditional law firm‘ – everyone is innovating and looking to reposition themselves as strategic advisors (the current Holy Grail). In short, if you want to be a ‘traditional law firm’ – unless you are really niche, which, like many, KPMG are not – then your days are numbered in my opinion.
- “a focus on offering our clients integrated global legal advice and solutions” – what would DLA Piper, Baker & McKenzie, White & Case, Norton Rose, Deacons (just to mention a few) make of that comment? Isn’t that precisely what they would lay claim to be trying to do?
- but, crucially, the following sentence is the principal reason why law firms with more than 20 partners should be concerned: “where we are able to work seamlessly with existing KPMG clients“. Why? Because the Big4 get involved earlier in the advisory/transaction life-cycle than law firms have historically done, so if the law firm is only looking to advise on the law, and not act in any consultation phase (even as early as the pre-planning phase), then they are going to be in big trouble.
But that’s just my take – as always, would be interested in your thoughts, views, feedback.
Thanks for your observations, Richard. Your comments are astute as usual.
The Big Four tend to be much better than most law firms at staying consistently close to their clients. This is due to the nature of their business and service offerings, and is also aided by their infrastructure and internal expectations (culture) that have been client-centric for the last 20+ years. This level of client intimacy gives them the advantage of being top-of-mind and a go-to provider of business solutions, whether those solutions are financial, legal or any other service provided by or connected to a Big Four entity.
Law firms that are not keeping a close eye on the Big Four – while differentiating themselves in the legal services market – are looking the wrong way.
spot on Heather – totally agree