Landwell faces SEC deadline on audit clients

Landwell’s global legal network has been given a deadline of 30th June by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this year to stop working for PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) SEC registered audit clients.

The firm’s German practice Heussen (previously PriceWaterhouseCoopers Veltins) is to quit the network almost two months short of this date on 6 May.

The firm will continue to work with PwC, but will cut all financial, marketing and referral ties, leaving it free to enter into “best friends” relationships with other law firms.

Sources say Heussen will probably be the last firm to cut ties. Netherlands and Belgian practices did so last year and Landwell’s French practice has had a turbulent time, losing a Paris team to Taylor Wessing and making redundancies in the audit referral practice.

Last year PwC’s law firms were given three choices as to how to respond to the SEC: becoming an in-house part of PwC in countries where this was allowed; operating as an non-audit focused, associated firm within the SEC rules, as Landwell UK will continue to do or a total split where local rules or the business case make this necessary. Heussen eventually took the third option.