find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Senior Government Lawyer
Category: Other | Location: Canberra ACT 2600
View details
Mid-tiers are ‘getting their lunch eaten’

Mid-tiers are ‘getting their lunch eaten’

A PwC partner has weighed in on the state of the legal market, predicting that mid-tiers will suffer a major setback in 2017, rather than the top-tiers.

PwC Australia and Asia-Pacific legal services leader Tony O’Malley said that with professional services firms, NewLaw and artificial intelligence all muscling in on the Aussie market, mid-tiers are likely to bear the brunt of the competition.

“They are getting their lunch eaten by everybody in the sense that the top-tier firms have come down into that mound a little bit the NewLaw boutiques are pushing quickly into that space,” Mr O’Malley told Lawyers Weekly, predicting that the industry might be edging closer to a tipping point.

“And of course, the impact of new technologies and automation is highest in areas where it's [easiest] to commoditise work, so I think that’s going to be an additional challenge for those mid-market firms that focus on general commercial work and are struggling to differentiate their offering.

“I suspect that we’ll see quite a few more mergers as people try and get the scale to shore up their positions.”

It’s the attraction to top legal talent, combined with a unique value proposition, that has seen PwC Legal seat itself firmly at the top-tier table, according to Mr O’Malley.

Clayton Utz partner Karen Evans-Cullen will be the 19th high-profile partner in two years to join PwC as a legal partner, part of a growth strategy likely to see the firm’s legal arm reach around 25 partners and over 100 lawyers over the next 12 months.

“We’re pretty happy to have her,” Mr O’Malley said.

“She really is one of those top-echelon M&A lawyers in the country … I think she brings quite a lot of agility and broad skill set, which I think would be very valuable to the growth of the legal practice and to the firm more broadly.”

He said the real question is just how big the firm’s legal arm could and should grow, given its model is designed to integrate top-quality legal services with adjacent lines of the firm’s business.

“We won’t grow for the sake of growing; we’ll only grow where it enhances our capability to really deliver those large projects or mandates,” Mr O’Malley said.

“We don’t need to be the same size and scale … we will continue to be competing for work with the other top firms.”

Inbound M&A in the retail, industrial and agribusiness sectors, where overseas investors are looking to place capital, is where Mr O’Malley sees the biggest opportunities heading into 2017.

“On the infrastructure side, [we’re looking at] opportunities arising from both that sort of social infrastructure to government-funded projects at state and federal level, but also in the resources sector, both traditional resources but also renewable energy around solar and wind,” he said.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Mid-tiers are ‘getting their lunch eaten’
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
Aug 21 2017
Top-tier offers targeted mentoring for Indigenous law students
Students at Macquarie University will be the first to benefit from a new Indigenous mentoring progra...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...