PwC Australia has launched a new business offering to help empower in-house legal departments to transform their function.
Named ‘NewLaw’, and operating separately but complementary to PwC Legal, the business offering forms part of the next wave of disruption challenging Australia’s legal landscape, the professional services company said.
Leading up the service will be the former senior general counsel of Telstra, Mick Sheehy.
Having been at “the forefront of challenging how traditional legal functions operate and develop”, according to PwC, Mr Sheehy will see ‘NewLaw’ focusing general counsel and legal departments on being ahead of the curve as changes in technology and resourcing pressures continue to escalate.
‘NewLaw’ will help in-house teams to devise strategies to more cost effectively manage matters and navigate a myriad of technology solutions, it was explained.
Once the right strategies are in place, ‘NewLaw’ can provide managed legal and outsource solutions able to tackle the more routine but high-volume work.
For Mr Sheehy, who is also the founder and former head of CLOC’s Australian division, “this is about building legal departments of the future”.
He said that by honing in the focus of in-house teams with the right information, then resourcing decisions can be “far more strategic”.
“This means everything from how a general counsel can use technology to automate through to what to do when a complicated transaction lands on your desk,” he explained.
According to the former senior general – whose expert areas included finance, technology, innovation and strategy – legal departments that don’t have a transformation and technology strategy will soon find themselves playing catch up as data drives insight and value.
“Importantly, we understand cost is a powerful lever when legal departments are negotiating budgets with executive teams and boards,” Mr Sheehy said.
“We think there is a better, more efficient way to do business that can help these teams scale up across volume and continue adding value, at a reduced cost.”
Work will be delivered by harnessing the expertise and insights of PwC’s other transformation specialists from across the firm’s global and multidisciplinary network, he noted.
Marlo Osborne-Smith, previously the head of clients Asia-Pacific for Herbert Smith Freehills, will work alongside Mr Sheehy.
The legal department transformation is simply the next evolution of disruption, according to PwC Australia’s Financial Advisory Managing Partner, Tom Seymour.
“It doesn’t matter what your area of expertise is – whether it’s finance, law, tax, marketing, human resources – in-house teams are being asked to do more with less,” Mr Seymour said.
“The time is right for us to complement our existing integrated teams and solution sets with this capability; it allows us to work with in-house legal teams in a capacity we have not been able to previously.”
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