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Law Firms Avoiding Business Ventures Risk Falling Behind

The largest of the Big Four accounting firms have blazed the trail into legal services through innovation, data-driven decision making, and technology. In sharp contrast, law firms and legal departments have not kept pace with business innovation, says Tom Barnett, senior vice president and divisional general counsel for UnitedLex. They need to step up to the plate and recoup money left on the table.

Last year the largest accounting firms in the world earned 10 times more revenue than the largest law firms. Why would law firms leave that kind of money on the table while accounting firms are cashing in?

For decades, the U.S. legal profession has enforced a narrow view of the types of ancillary services a law firm may offer clients. Services supporting core legal functions have been deemed acceptable, while broader services not related to providing legal advice generally have not.

Contrast that with the accounting profession. Big Four firms are now referred to as consulting or advisory firms rather than simply accounting firms as in years past. This is not merely a semantic evolution. Revenue from their consulting services has equaled or even exceeded that of traditional audit services.

This story was published on Bloomberg Law. To read more, visit Law Firms Avoiding Business Ventures Risk Falling Behind.

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