Speaking on a recent episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, PwC legal partner Natalie Kurdian (pictured) chatted about the difference between traditional law firms and the services offered by the big four accounting firms following their expansion into other areas of work.
“I’d say [law firms] definitely have full service in terms of the legal aspects,” Ms Kurdian said.
“But if I look at the full service that we can provide as a firm compared to the full service that a traditional law firm can provide, it really makes a bit of a mockery of their ability to say, ‘We're a full-service firm’, because yes they are when it relates to legal, but that's where it stops.”
PwC, on the other hand, has many facets to its business, with the different sections able to work together and service all of their clients' legal and non-legal needs, according to Ms Kurdian.
“Some people think of PwC as an accounting firm, and it was traditionally an accounting firm, but that description is no longer correct. I'd say a better description of PwC is more of an advisory consultancy firm,” she said.
“If I think of one of the most global firms, one of the most integrated networks, PwC would dwarf any law firm. We're in 157 jurisdictions, and for legal stand alone, we're in 87 of those 157. We're not small by any stretch of the imagination.”
Ms Kurdian believes that expanding into other areas of work is what helps keep firms afloat in times of rapid change.
“One of the troubles and concerns that probably a lot of key management at law firms stay awake at night thinking about is, ‘We're a mature business, we're trying to encourage and attract and maintain talent, but if we're shrinking our partnership and we're shrinking our profits, how do we continue to attract the [best of the next] generation and keep them?’,” she said.
“It's hard to do. There's no easy answer to that without branching into new lines of business.”