Profession struggling to ‘figure out’ EY Law

Topics: Alternative business structures,In-house

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Senior lawyers at global accountancy giant EY say the new entrant into the legal services market has benefited from the legal profession’s struggle to ‘figure us out’.

EY Law’s Matthew Kellett (pictured), head of law, financial services, told the Gazette that many solicitors still referred to the ‘big four’ accountancy firms as ‘accountants’.

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But Kellett stressed that just over half of EY’s business is management consultancy: ‘We are an accountancy firm culturally but not a firm of accountants. It suits us that people cannot figure us out or have not done so yet.’

Philip Goodstone, head of law, UK and Ireland, said the firm’s competitors are ‘whoever is strong’ in any market EY Law is competing for work.

Goodstone said EY Law is ‘not trying to replace what the market already has’. But he added: ‘If we cannot position ourselves differently and distinctly, there’s no point doing what we do.

‘Our fixation is on what we’re doing, not on how the market chooses to box us.’

EY became the third of the ‘big four’ to be granted an alternative business structure licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 2014 along with PwC Legal and KPMG. Deloitte has said it has no plans to go down the ABS route.

EY said at the time it expected to have a legal presence in more than 80 jurisdictions by 2017.

‘Even the biggest magic circle firms have a footprint in about 20 jurisdictions. We do other assignments where we’re covering 70 jurisdictions,’ Kellett said.

At present the UK team has more than 40 lawyers, with plans to grow to 60 by the end of June. Goodstone said the UK team ‘should be something like 150 people or maybe more’ by 2020. The financial services legal team could grow to 75-100 lawyers, Kellett said.

The UK team will also take on between four and six trainees this year. Kellett said the financial services team will ‘get some trainees in due course’.

Goodstone added that growth was ‘not just a numbers game for us. We’re not looking to build just for building’s sake. Success for me will be when we get our first internally promoted partners’.

Readers' comments (7)

  • Please will the LSG stop uncritically regurgitating press releases, especially those designed to undermine traditional solicitors practices,

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  • But they are the future.

    And as you had no balls for the fight when the Govt. passed the Banks and Insurers Legal 'Services' Act 1998, you are if not history, very near to it.

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  • I'm having trouble figuring out the article.

    So I looked at their website to try to figure them out. I'm still none the wiser.

    Kellett and Goodstone are a riot.

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  • They've made a good start - they're as arrogant as a lot of solicitors.

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  • ‘We are an accountancy firm culturally but not a firm of accountants. It suits us that people cannot figure us out or have not done so yet.’

    In F Troop, the Heck Are We Tribe adopted their name when they couldn't work out where they were.

    As long as no one can work out what they really do (which they seem to like) EY Law will eventually trade on their special USP and re-brand going forward for synergistic economies of scale and optimum performance indication and become "Heckarewe Law". And we'll all be a lot better informed.

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  • Or they'll just float, brag, sell, collapse, then buy back their business and start all over again....

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  • Who remembers Garrett & Co? This is hardly anything new. MDP's will not be the future as accountants earn far too much money to want to go into partnership with solicitors.

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