By Legal Futures Associate LexisNexis 
The Big 4 accountancy firms have continued their advance into legal services, but are they likely to supplant traditional law firms? Do they want to? Unpicking their aims and strategies, this report asks what makes the Big 4 different and what traditional law firms can do about it.
Today, LexisNexis Legal & Professional®, a leading global provider of legal information and analytics has released an investigative report entitled “Are the Big Four reshaping the future of legal services?” Rather than suggesting that traditional law firms should be afraid of the Big 4 and their desire to poach high-value legal work, the report argues that the Big 4 are setting on an altogether different strategy and benefiting from the changing way legal services are delivered through ALSPs.
From in-depth interviews with lawyers from across the sector, the report tracks what’s changed and why. Originally setting out to be ‘just like law firms but bigger’, the report identifies that the Big 4 have evolved their strategy and approach. It offers insight into how the Big 4 accountancy firms are bringing disruption to all areas of the legal market by offering clients a higher integration of technology, project management and process management than traditional firms may be able to offer.
By utilising cutting-edge technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, the Big 4 can automate the routine, low value, high volume legal tasks – winning business that is often unwanted. The Big 4 are less interested in building share of big, high-profile legal work. Instead, they are seeking to become the engine room of professional services.
The Big 4 have been able to take advantage of a changing market. The report looks at the rise of ALSPs and how they are enabling new ways of using people, processes and technology to deliver volume work at lower costs. With efficiencies, experience and scale across a huge range of specialties, the Big 4 have a different perspective on their clients and the challenges they face. The Big 4 are cornering the market of solutions, rather than advice.
Further evidence of the changing strategic imperatives for the Big 4 can be seen in their approach to talent. More flexible in their approach to talent management and recruitment, the Big 4 are attracting a different type of employee. No longer solely recruiting top talent from law firms, the report identifies how the Big 4 are increasingly being led by internal talent – often with non-legal backgrounds. This, the report identifies, is because they understand and can bring to life the differentiated value proposition offered by the Big 4.