Recent developments indicate that accounting firms such as KPMG are looking at getting back into the legal industry after an absence of over ten years. See articles here and here. Accounting firms had to get out of the legal services business back when the Sorbanes-Oxley Act came into effect in 2002 due to conflicts with their management consulting, audit and legal services businesses.
With the ABS regulatory changes now well underway in the UK, accounting firms are looking closely at the legal industry again. Accounting firms are well ahead of law firms on the business management and marketing fronts, and will be formidable opponents to law firms if they commit their resources to a full-scale re-entry to the legal industry. And that’s what they appear to be preparing for in the UK. I fully expect the global accounting giants to make a big push into the legal industry in the near future, and smart law firms will team up with the accountants to provide global business advisory services unmatched in the world today. Some global accounting firms will move back into the legal sector again in a big way by merging with mid-tier and large law firms in ABS structures to gain legal market share quickly.
I also see many opportunities for small and midsize law firms to team up with accountants to provide trusted business advisory services not being offered today.