Why are lawyers attracted to the Big 4?

By Grace Ormsby|28 April 2019

There’s a myriad of reasons prompting market-leading lawyers to make the switch to Big 4 law offerings, according to one partner who has made the move.

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, PwC Legal’s Mark Pistilli said that he had formed the view “that the Big 4 would at some point be the largest legal offerings in the world, undertaking the most interesting and complex work”.

While the endeavour to become one of the globe’s largest legal offerings will be a journey in itself, the partner considered it “exciting to be part of building it”.

For Mr Pistilli, “it was the opportunity to work in an integrated team covering a number of disciplines across tax, deals, advisory and people” that prompted his move.

“I could see the enormous benefit that would bring to a client, with one team providing the whole package – delivering a linked-up product, limiting advisor friction and management, and thinking outside of any particular expertise and [being able to] focus on the client,” he continued.

Geographical spread was also an important factor for the lawyer, and he explained that “PwC has lawyers working across all of Australia, with particular mining expertise in WA and Queensland, and energy expertise in Victoria and Sydney”.

Previously a partner with Pistilli Simmons, and before that, the Sydney office managing partner of Clifford Chance LLP, Mr Pistilli said that having come from a global law firm, “the fact that PwC has lawyers in over 100 countries and growing (and PwC offices in over 160 countries) was also significant”.

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“Especially at a time when many of the BigLaw firms are scaling back their international networks,” he added.

According to Mr Pistilli, PwC is much broader than the traditional BigLaw firms, and is able to provide “what the BigLaw firms do, but with so much more, including legal tech solutions and a number of other related services”.

He also noted the scale difference and emphasised PwC as being 20 or more times bigger than BigLaw firms are, “with a much deeper understanding and relevance in some key areas as a result”.

“PwC is purpose-driven, focusing on its clients, people and society generally,” the lawyer continued.

“Some BigLaw firms are the same, but not all.”

Lawyers Weekly also spoke to Mr Pistilli about disruption to the ENR sector.

Why are lawyers attracted to the Big 4?
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