Deloitte, PwC Australian Consultants Jump to Ashurst Law Firm

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A team of legal consultants from Deloitte and PwC is moving to the Ashurst law firm, further cementing the trend of prominent firms tapping Big Four talent as they try to offer expanded services to clients.

The four new partners from Deloitte—Sid Maharaj, Tony Morris, Elena Lambros, and Philip Hope—and former PwC partner Melina Sehr specialize in risk advisory and wealth management services, according to the firm. Sehr will work out of Melbourne, while the other new partners will be based in Ashurst’s Sydney office.

“Since COVID in particular, our clients have asked us for help in areas well beyond traditional legal services,” Jamie Ng, Ashurst executive team member and Global Head of Ashurst Consulting, said in a statement. “They want a legal-led approach but one that also taps into other critical capabilities. That is what we have assembled.”

The hires are part of a plan to expand the law firm’s consulting business into a $100 million operation, in Australian dollars, by 2023, according to an account from the Australian Financial Review. That is close to $80 million in U.S. currency.

Ashurst reportedly plans to flex its bolstered consulting strength in the U.K. and U.S. markets. The London-based firm boasts offices in more than two dozen cities around the globe, including New York and Los Angeles.

Executive-level lateral moves between the Big Four accounting companies and Big Law firms in the U.S. have increased in the last couple years—as the nexus between the two continues to deepen generally as they tread on each other’s legal services businesses.

Last month, the technology and legal service provider UnitedLex hired five former executives of PwC and Deloitte, as the company ramps up its efforts to digitize corporate legal departments.

In early February, KPMG—which along with EY make up the remaining Big Four companies—formed an alliance with the legal tech provider SirionLabs to offer new contract management tools for law departments.

Meanwhile, both EY and Deloitte last year unveiled renewed efforts to grow their shares of the U.S. legal services market. These services include a range of contract lifecycle-management tools that offer in-house legal offices the ability to streamline functions that track client contracts, invoices, and eDiscovery.

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