Summary: Accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers will have a law firm office up and running this month in Washington D.C.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) announced their plan to open a law firm in the United States. The firm, which will be called ILC Legal, will be operational this month from its office in Washington D.C. This move is a clear indication that the Big Four accounting firms are ready to continue their move into legal services.
The law firm will not provide services on U.S. law but instead will focus on advising U.S. clients in international matters, acting as a marketing operation that can generate work for their existing legal services network.
The head of PwC Legalâs international business reorganizations practice, Richard Edmundson, will relocate from London to lead the office. He has been a partner with PwC Legal for nearly twenty years. He will be joined by a few other PwC lawyers and support staff. Edmundson said, âThis is market driven. Our clients are increasingly looking for advisers that can provide international coverage on transactions from planning to execution.â
Edmundson explained in an interview with The American Lawyer that the office will focus on matters concerning U.S.-based multinationals conducting business abroad, including M&A support, international corporate structuring, financial services, labor, cybersecurity and data protection, immigration, corporate secretarial, dispute resolution, and tax controversy. He said, âWe donât regard ourselves as a traditional law firm. We donât look at legal services in isolation â itâs just one part of a broader offering.â
The American Lawyer first broke the story when PwC in-house IP counsel Joseph Cilluffo filed several trademark registrations for ILC Legal LLP. The registrations covered the âprovision of law firm and legal services related to the laws and regulations of non-U.S. jurisdictions.â Soon after their website was updated to include ILC and Edmundsonâs online legal services listing on Avvo to a Washington D.C. location.
Edmundson claims large corporations prefer their abilities as an accounting firm with multiple services like legal advice. The firm decided to open an office in Washington D.C. because it is such an important and large market. The other incentive was that the bar in Washington D.C. allows for lawyers to register as foreign legal consultants and practice U.K. law. They have no immediate plans to open more locations in the U.S. but as Edmundson states, âWe want to be successful and grow our business. We will see how the market reacts.â
Edmundson explained to Law.com that the firm will operate as a separate legal entity from the PwC body. âIt isnât controlled by the accounting firm, so it can in theory do anything that any independent law firm can do,â he said. He said the firm wonât offer U.S. law advice but there is no reason that they couldnât.
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