EY partner and head of law for UK and Ireland Philip Goodstone talks to The Lawyer ahead of this year’s Business Leadership Summit in association with Propero Partners, which focuses on the law firm of 2025.

Philip Goodstone EY
Philip Goodstone

Will every lawyer be agile working/working remotely by 2025?

No, but an increasing number will. There are huge benefits to agile and remote working but also some real benefits of working together with a team too. The approach we have adopted at EY is to empower our people, at every level of the firm, to decide how, when and where they work.  All our roles are open to flexibility and we’ve seen first-hand how it can make our people happier and more engaged, lead to higher levels of client service, create competitive advantage and save money. What I really hope is that we have a more flexible working environment across the industry and that this promotes greater diversity, helping to attract and retain the best talent.

Will market consolidation see the rise of a “Big 4” equivalent of law firms by 2025?

I think that is possible long term but I don’t see it happening within a short timetable. I do though see more consolidation and the continued growth of a wide range of alternative providers.

What technology do you anticipate will revolutionise the industry by 2025?

If I knew the answer to that question I wouldn’t be a lawyer! I think it will be a combination of technology that will drive change and the winners will be those firms that make technology work in a way that truly enhances the service to and experience of clients. What we can be certain of is that impact of technology and the so called ‘fourth industrial revolution’, will leave few industries unchanged.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

When I was a student I worked as:

  • A cocktail barman in London
  • A door-to-door potato seller in Leeds
  • A valet parker in New York

If you had not decided to become a lawyer, what career would you have chosen?

I never really decided to be a lawyer, I just had no idea what I wanted to do but pitched up to a milk round interview and was offered the job. I was lucky in that once I started I worked with some inspirational people and just really enjoyed it.

With agile working becoming the norm, which spot in the world would you most like to work from?

Somewhere in Southern California overlooking the Pacific Ocean – but more important than that, anywhere with my family and friends close by.

Philip will be speaking at this year’s Business Leadership Summit on a panel discussion exploring whether law firms as asleep at the wheel as new competitors rise. For more information on the summit, a copy of the agenda, or to enquire about tickets to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(0) 20 7970 4017 or kenan.balli@centaurmedia.com