PwC has laid out ambitious plans to double the size of its U.K. legal business in the coming years.
Teresa Owusu-Adjei, PwC’s U.K. head of legal, said that the professional services giant’s board has signed off plans that will see a “huge amount of investment” in the firm’s U.K. legal business in the next three to four years.
The money will be spent on hiring staff outside of London and investing in new technology to support the legal operation. PwC does not provide figures for its legal revenues, but currently employs around 400 staff in its U.K. legal arm.
“We have significant ambition around doubling the size of the business in the next few years”, said Owusu-Adjei. “Everything is on the table and it’s been signed off at the highest level of the firm that this is an area that everyone is behind.”
She said PwC saw particular opportunity in what it calls ‘legal business solutions’ – including providing advice to companies on international corporate restructuring, company secretarial services and providing consulting services to in-house legal departments. She added that the rising importance of ESG to companies and legal departments would also fuel growth.
“We see those as representing the biggest opportunities for a firm like ours,” she said. “It is about hiring and making sure we have the people in place to support the opportunities that we see in the market, but also about making sure that [we have the right] technology and that we are bringing [all the technology] that we have across the firm.”
The news comes as the Big Four accounting firms are increasingly looking to make inroads in U.K. legal services, particularly pushing their managed legal services and consulting services to in-house legal departments.
Last year, EY appointed Jan Thornbury as its first head of legal transformation for U.K. & Ireland. In October, KPMG hired former-Baker McKenzie partner Richard Needham to bolster its international business reorganisation team in London. While in late 2020, Deloitte Legal acquired technology focused law firm Kemp Little in an effort to expand its legal offering.
In Europe, Big Four firms have been particularly active. In recent weeks PwC has hired two senior lawyers in Germany although the firm also lost a local team to Baker McKenzie.