It’s a confusing time for intellectual property law. Sometimes the lateral market is swinging boutique IP firms back into larger partnerships. This week, a group of lawyers from a larger firm set out on their own.
The Churn—Beltway edition:
If you can’t beat 'em, join 'em. PricewaterhouseCoopers internalized the old adage this week, with its announcement that it will open a law firm in Washington, called ILC Legal. It’s the first foray of a Big Four accounting and consulting firm into this space. D.C.-based legal recruiter Jeff Lowe of Major, Lindsey & Africa said it might not be the last.
In the best-case scenario for Big Law, “It’s just a decision for the Big Four to isolate legal ability, with an esoteric reason,” to structure the firm separately from the core PwC business, he said. In the worst-case scenario, this 800-pound business consulting gorilla could crush smaller players in law, who have far less ability to couple their legal services with business advice for clients. Lowe said law firms in town should be watching whether PwC and ILC start to poach more frequently from Am Law firms, if it takes on regulatory fare that would be standard for D.C.’s large firms, or if other accounting and consulting businesses join the law firm game.