Business & Practice

Wake Up Call: Big Four Focus on Tech to Provide Efficient Legal Services

Oct. 23, 2019, 11:52 AM
  • A quarter century after Big Four accountancy firms started pushing into Big Law’s turf, dramatic changes in the market have spurred them to a new approach. The firms—Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG—are still keen on increasing legal market share, but less interested in a head-on fight with Big Law. Instead, they’re focused on using technology to make legal advice more efficient, among other things, according to this report. (Financial Times)

  • That story is part of a Financial Times special report on so-called intelligent business, including a look at how new legal tech companies are creating ways to help legal departments find cheaper alternatives to the billable hour. And one on AI tools to speed up contract review and revision. (Financial Times)

  • Baker McKenzie expanded its lead as the strongest brand in Europe in Acritas’ latest top 20 ranking of law firm brands in Europe. Linklaters, CMS, DLA Piper, and Allen & Overy round out the top five, in that order. (Acritas)

  • Facebook Inc.’s antitrust problems got worse yesterday, as dozens more states joined New York’s wide-ranging investigation into whether the company’s business practices have stifled competition or put users at risk. (BN via BLAW)

  • King & Spalding grabbed Morrison & Foerster corporate partners Lawrence Yanowitch, Thomas Knox, Charles Katz, and Jeremy Schropp as partners in its corporate, finance and investments group, based in Northern Virginia. The team, which focuses on M&A transactions, venture capital financing and outsourcing deals, will work with colleagues in the Washington metro area, New York, California, and Atlanta. (KSLaw.com)

  • A California Superior Court judge approved $43.2 million in attorneys’ fees as part of a class action settlement spanning three lawsuits and more than 8,500 security service workers, across 14 years. The judge said the suits raised novel issues of class action litigation. (BLAW)

  • Several big firms advised on PR newswire company Cision Ltd.'s $2.74 billion deal to be acquired by an affiliate of private equity firm Platinum Equity. Kirkland & Ellis advised Cision. Platinum Equity got M&A advice from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and financing legal aspects advice from Willkie Farr & Gallagher. (PRNewswire.com)

  • K&L Gates client SIMO Holdings, Inc. won an approximately $8.23 million patent infringement judgment, involving “virtual SIM” technology for WIFI hotspots, against defendants uCloudlink Network Technology Ltd. and UCloudlink (America) Ltd. Defendants were represented by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; Fish & Richardson; and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Federal case No. was 8-cv-5427. Judge Jed S. Rakoff. (KLGates.com) Businesswire.com) (Leagle.com) (JDSupra.com)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Pro Bono

  • Goodwin Procter hired debt finance lawyer Kristopher Ring from Katten Muchin Rosenman as a partner in its private equity and debt finance practices, based in the firm’s new Santa Monica office. Ring earlier spent time at Kirkland and Paul Hastings. (GoodwinLaw.com)

  • Construction-law focused attorney Kenneth Stephens says that he vowed to become a lawyer as he was sitting in jail in 2009 falsely accused of a crime. He’s now a name partner of a minority-owned commercial litigation firm in Texas. (Black Enterprise)

  • A growing number of legal operations chiefs lack law degrees, and it looks like that’s not a problem. (Law.com)


  • Hogan Lovells advised Texas-based travel technology company Sabre Corporation in its approximately $110 million acquisition of Orlando-based Radixx, which provides airline retailing software. (HoganLovells.com) (Sabre.com)

  • Media and marketing company Meredith Corporation, advised by Cooley, sold personal finance site Money to digital advertising company Ad Practitioners LLC. No terms were disclosed. Meredith killed the print edition of Money in June, after getting it as part of its June 2018 acquisition of Time Inc. for $2.8 billion. (Variety) (New York Post)

  • Willkie client Insight Partners invested $145 million (130 million euros) in German commerce software startup commercetools. (VCAonline.com) (TechCrunch)

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Intellectual property veteran William F. Abrams, a former San Francisco office managing partner at Steptoe & Johnson LLP, jumped from Foster Pepper’s Seattle office to Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, as a shareholder in Seattle. (Schwabe.com)

  • Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider added patent litigator Paul Zeineddin as a partner in Washington, in its IP group. He arrives from Zeineddin PLLC., and previously worked at Baker Botts, O’Melveny & Myers, and in-house at Samsung Electronics. (Axinn.com)

  • Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld expanded its IP practice by hiring two veteran partners from boutique Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner in Washington. (American Lawyer)

  • Veteran worklaw attorney Sara Kalis left Littler in Minneapolis to join Paul Hastings as of counsel in its employment practice, in New York. (PaulHastings.com)

  • Reynen Court, the legal tech platform backed by 19 major law firms, hired the chief technology officer of Canadian firm Stikeman Elliot, Venky Srinivasan, to be its “chief evangelist.” The job involves developing collaboration with law firms and corporate law departments. He will also be on Reynen Court’s executive team. (ReynenCourt.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • A legal secretary who admitted gesturing to a SkyWest Airlines Inc. witness not to answer a question at an employment trial was properly convicted of criminal contempt of court, a court ruled yesterday. She was represented by Greenberg Traurig. (BLAW)

  • A man who hacked into the L.A. Superior Court computer system as part of a massive phishing attempt was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. (BLAW)


  • The U.S. and U.K. earlier this month signed a bilateral data access agreement but law firms are still worried about privacy of sensitive data stored on the cloud. (Legaltechnews.com)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Molly Ward in Washington at mward@bloomberglaw.com

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