Mass Ernst & Young defection could spell doom for Sweden

Following the dissolution of the firm’s Stockholm office, (The Lawyer, 25 November) and a number of walkouts, the firm is left with less than 20 lawyers spread between its four remaining offices.

Sweden managing partner Claes Sjölin and the handful of remaining Gothenburg partners are considering their own futures and may also join Magnusson Wahlin.

“Uppsala, Karlstad and Malmo aren’t that important,” said Sjölin. “You need a Stockholm and Gothenburg office.” But with no presence in either of these two key cities, Sjölin admitted that finding a merger partner was difficult.

New Swedish laws on accountancy firms have sparked the disintegration and the situation has been confused further by a government body which continues to study the role of tax lawyers.

The Uppsala, Karlstad and Malmo offices are on the verge of an agreement to remain together, according to Malmo managing partner Mark Tullgren. But this agreement would need rethinking if the government body decided that tax lawyers cannot work alongside business lawyers.