find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Why firms will forever fail to be full-service

Why firms will forever fail to be full-service

Natalie Kurdian, PwC

While law firms may be able to offer the full suite of legal services, they will never be able to fully service all of their clients’ needs, according to a PwC partner.

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.”

That is what the accountancy firms have been able to do, according to Ms Kurdian: break into adjacent areas of business to continue to thrive and grow.

“The traditional law firm model is more of a mature business, whereas PwC, KPMG and the other different consultancy firms are more of a growth firm,” she said.

“They're more entrepreneurial. They're more willing to embrace technology, innovation. We have a huge forensics and cyber security practice. We have a part of our firm which is dedicated to innovation and AI and how we can employ tools, from a legal perspective, to assist our clients with maximising efficiencies.”

Being a full-service firm that offers consultancy around technology, Ms Kurdian said PwC is at the forefront of change.

“We're in this position where we actually get to benefit from our own in-house team in allowing us to educate ourselves and our own clients about how we can embrace technology to bring about a better product, a more integrated product that brings in the other businesses,” she said.

“It's not just a legal innovation product. It's maybe a legal tax consultancy job, and everything is digitally innovated and applied and seamless.”

Looking to the future, Ms Kurdian said, “Absolutely law firms will still continue to exist.”

However, with so many NewLaw entrants coming to the market and the accounting firms continuing to take a bigger piece of the pie, Ms Kurdian said firms must constantly improve to remain relevant.

“What will happen is those that are slow to take up technology or innovation and alternative means of pricing a project and delivering a legal service will effectively self-select themselves out of market share, such that the NewLaw firm entrants, including ourselves, will be able to embrace a larger proportion,” she said.

“There is going to be a landscape where you will have your law firms and you will have your NewLaw models, and then you'll have the consultancy advisory firms.”


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

Why firms will forever fail to be full-service
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Dec 18 2017
Summer in the city
Across Australia, a number of law students have kicked off their commercial law aspirations with the...
microscope
Dec 18 2017
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
Dec 18 2017
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...