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The law firm wings of the Big 4 accounting firms have been growing steadily and then remarkably for the past few years, approaching – and in some cases surpassing – the sizes they had reached before the Enron bankruptcy and subsequent creation of the Sarbanes-Oxley regime knocked them down more than a decade ago.
This resurgence is obvious in CEE as well, and the confidence among and optimism of the regional heads of the Big 4 legal practices suggest that their time, this time, has come
Krzysztof Zakrzewski is one of the founders of the Domanski Zakrzewski Palinka law firm in Poland and has been its Managing Partner since 1999. He and his firm were part of Andersen Legal from 1995 until Andersen’s collapse in 2002, They were then associated with E&Y Legal for about 8 months, before ending that relationship. “This was the time of Sarbanes Oxley,” he recalls, “and all those restrictions, and it really didn’t make much sense.”
Zakrzewski says that the Big 4 is not yet a threat to the major international or domestic firms, “but you never know.”
He says he’s not seeing any of the Big 4 on pitches or deals in Poland, but “we see them in statistics, and we see them building– or rebuilding – the legal practice.” He says of PWC in particular that “they really invested a lot, and … they started buying people from other law firms and offering highly above-the-market salaries. They put big pressure on building the team and trying to find good people from the market, which I believe was successful.”
In Zakrzewski’s opinion, the Big 4 are particularly attractive to smaller clients, and smaller businesses in particular “accept this kind of one-stop shop approach.” As a result, he says, he hears that some of the Big 4 are quite busy with legal work. “But,” he notes, “you don’t see them on the transaction market or the top end of the market. It’s mostly tax structuring, corporate work, restructuring, things like that."
Full content of the article is available in attached PDF.
Source: Originally Published by CEE Legal Matters, 12/2014
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