Lexpert Magazine

September 2017

Lexpert magazine features articles and columns on developments in legal practice management, deals and lawsuits of interest in Canada, the law and business issues of interest to legal professionals and businesses that purchase legal services.

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44 LEXPERT MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2017 FEATURE THE RECENT ANNOUNCEMENTS by two national firms that senior executives from PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG Canada would be joining them in key strategic roles is telling evidence that traditionalists are finally appreciating the extent to which the Big Four accounting firms have reset their sights on the country's legal services market. Beth Wilson, former KPMG Greater Toronto Area Managing Partner, has succeeded Chris Pin- nington, a lawyer, as CEO of Dentons Canada LLP. And Gino Scapillati, most recently Vice-Chair at PwC and the firm's former national managing partner, is now at Bennett Jones LLP as Vice- Chair, Strategy and Innovation. Dentons characterized Wilson's recruitment as a "bold and innovative" move. "It is a reflection of our clients' increasing view that their legal advisors should be more than just a traditional law firm, and should offer broader perspectives, insights and understanding of their business and industry," said Richard Scott, chair of the firm's Canada Board. Elliott Portnoy, Dentons' global Chief Ex- ecutive Officer, drew a parallel between the "significant disruption and transformation" affecting lawyers and the "auditing and consulting" professions. And Bill McFarland, CEO of PwC Canada, singled out Scapillati's role in helping to "transform [PwC's] go to market approach during a period of significant change." At their core, the national firms' resort to Big Four talent recognizes both the extent to which the accountants are ahead of lawyers when it comes to technology and efficiency, as well as their emerg- ing assault on legal services, including some of the profession's most cherished and profitable practice THE LONG ACCOUNTING FIRMS IN CANADA HAVE THUS FAR BEEN UNABLE TO BREAK INTO HIGH-END BUSINESS LAW, BUT PATIENCE MAY YET BEAR FRUIT AS THEY CONTINUE TO BUILD CAPACITY IN LEGAL SERVICES BY JULIUS MELNITZER PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

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