The report, Lawyers and Accountants – Professional Services Disruption, makes a number of arguments to demonstrate that the legal profession has nothing to fear despite the “tectonic changes” the big four, alternative legal services providers, and shifting referral patterns will bring.
The report’s author, president of the Association of International Law Firm Networks Stephen McGarry, predicts that while the big four are a concern, they do not pose a concrete threat to BigLaw.
“The legal market in the largest locations is simply too large and complex for the big four to have any noticeable impact,” Mr McGarry wrote. This is despite the big four’s aggressive entrance into the legal profession, with 10,000 attorneys in 80 countries.
The report predicted that as the big four enter into legal practices where they already exist, indigenous law firms will no longer refer accounting matters to them, as they will be directly competing for business.
Instead, law firms (even global firms) will look for local and domestic accounting firms to refer their matters to in each country they service, which “creates opportunities for both professions,” according to the report.
The report reflected on the future potential for cross-networking between the law and accounting fields to enable matters to be referred more readily between legal professionals and accounting professionals.