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Accountant moves into legal arena

MULTI-disciplinary firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has taken a step into the legal world.

The accounting and consulting giant, formed by the 1998 merger of PriceWaterhouse and Coopers and Lybrand, has taken over Sydney law firm Dunhill Madden Butler and launched Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Legal.

The organisation is a member of Pricewaterhouse-Coopers associated law firm Landwell, making it the third largest legal services firm in the world. The service will be based in Sydney for the foreseeable future.

PricewaterhouseCoopers WA managing partner Alan Good said it was unlikely much business from WA would be referred to the legal arm.

“We’re just putting our toe into the water,” Mr Good said.

He said the driver to form the legal arm had come from the similarities to legal advice the group already provided, particularly in the tax area.

The move of a multi-disciplinary firm into the legal area has been on the minds of the legal fraternity recently.

In a visit to Perth, Minter Ellison national managing partner Phil Clark said law firms would underestimate multi-disciplinary firms at their peril.

“Eventually they will become the proprietors and affiliates of very large law firms,” Mr Clark said.

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