Five lawyers from around the world are moving to Washington, D.C. to provide legal services for a newly formed PricewaterhouseCooper branded law firm.
The firm, called ILC Legal, marks PwC’s latest expansion into the market for legal services after taking over a large group of tax lawyers from General Electric in April.
The firm will operate independently from PwC, but as part of a so-called PwC International Network, which consists of a collection of separate PwC affiliated businesses in more than 90 countries around the world.
The firm will be founded by two equity partners: Richard Edmundson, head of PwC Legal’s international business reorganizations practice, and Carmen Millian Cruz, head of PwC’s international corporate and contractual law practice in Spain.
Edmundson, who has been a PwC Legal partner since 1998, is a tax-focused corporate lawyer. Before that, he spent 12 years in the corporate finance practice at Clifford Chance in London, according to his LinkedIn biography.
Cruz, on the other hand, has been with the Spain operation of PwC since 2000, according to her LinkedIn biography. Previously, she worked in the legal department of Nutreco, a large animal nutrition company based in the Netherlands.
Three other PwC lawyers are moving to Washington and joining the firm from Germany, Canada and Central Eastern Europe, according to Edmundson.
In an interview, Edmundson said he intends to expand the firm from its initial team of five.
“We think we provide something different from established law firms,” said Edmundson.
Because it will work closely with PwC-related businesses around the world, Edmundson said clients will have access to professional services outside of strictly legal, including accounting.
He declined to name specific clients but said ILC Legal will offer foreign legal services to U.S.-based multinational companies. The firm will not practice U.S. law.
Areas of specialty will include business reorganizations, transformation, labor and employment, M&A due diligence, financial services regulation, tax controversy and dispute resolution, cyber security and data privacy, Edmundson said.
Jeffrey Lowe, a Washington, D.C. legal recruiter with Major Lindsey & Africa, said the move is the latest indication that the Big Four are now competing more directly with law firms.
“What I would be most concerned about is that they have much deeper business skills and much broader platforms [than law firms],” said Lowe. “If you look at the numbers, these accounting firms, while they only have 2,200 in their legal teams, they have 50,000 employees or more. The scale literally dwarfs that of the typical law firm.”
Anecdotally, he said he’s seen an uptick of Big Four firms attempting to poach tax lawyers.
“They can make a very persuasive case, because their compensation is very high and they can also offer true pension plans that you rarely see at law firms anymore,” said Lowe. “The downside is that they typically have lower retirement ages at the Big Four.”
The new ILC Legal firm was first noticed by The American Lawyer after an in-house lawyer filed multiple trademark registrations for ILC Legal LLP and then updated its website to include ILC.