Changes to the legal arms of accounting firms characterised by the migration of employees to large law firms continued last week.
Ernst & Young Law has seen 12 employees move on to Deacons, a lateral hire that has been managed by the two firms and is viewed as an agreed transfer rather than a poaching.
“This is an agreed move and fully supported by Ernst & Young,” said Ernst & Young managing partner Joseph Carrozzi.
Lawyers Weekly last week reported PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Legal’s loss of two partners, one special counsel, four senior associates and three other lawyers to Maddocks. Earlier, the firm sold 20 per cent of its legal arm to Hunt & Hunt. But PwC Legal was able to account for its losses and emphasised that the changes were not a reaction to audit independence concerns. The firm claimed the losses “were absolutely not an indication of things to come”.
But doubts about the sturdiness of multidisciplinary practices followed the disbanding of KPMG’s KLegal, which was forced to close its doors last year, citing, among other things, the introduction of new laws in the US restricting the provision of non-audit services to audit clients.
Ernst & Young Law will now focus on tax-related legal services rather than continuing as a mainstream commercial law firm. The firm will provide services in areas including stamp duty, tax disputes and commercial drafting related to tax restructures and tax advice.
Michael Bradwell and Con Boulougouris arrived at Deacons with two lawyers, Daniel Aitken and Frank Sharkey, and their secretary and will shortly be joined by partners Clive Hinton and Arthur Davis plus more lawyers and support staff.
Deacons’ Perth office has also appointed John Chandler from KLegal, as well as Phillips Fox’s Shaun Temby.