PwC global aims foiled as Landwell chief bows out

Landwell’s global legal head Gerard Nicolai is to leave the firm, signalling the end of its accounting parent PricewaterhouseCoopers’ (PwC) ambitions to have an international legal network.

Nicolai, who will not be replaced, is the last global leader of the accountancy-tied firms to step down.

As revealed by The Lawyer, EY Law’s head quit following discussions with accounting parent Ernst & Young, while KLegal International chief executive Robert Glennie’s position became redundant this month when the chances of him negotiating an international alliance finally foundered.

Nicolai said: “I have decided voluntarily to step down.”

He added Landwell’s remaining associated law firms are set to discuss their future soon.

A PwC source said: “Our strategy is that law is no longer a global business and we reached that conclusion after a long strategic review.”

Nicolai is based in Landwell’s Paris office, which last week witnessed a boardroom coup that ousted the French management team.

A senior source at Landwell told The Lawyer that president Jacques Taquet and his management team were dismissed due to the firm’s poor financial performance. Both Taquet and his replacement Arnaud Chafter denied that Taquet’s team was dismissed and stated that Taquet will stay with Landwell.

“There is no crisis. It’s very natural. There is continuity,” said Chafter. “We had difficulties. We have lost nearly 200 people and some revenues. Some good teams have left and now we need to restore our financials. This was a good time to change the team.”

Landwell’s French team has struggled to cope with the fallout from French and US regulations governing multidisciplinary practices. One hundred and ninety-three lawyers have left Landwell France, including 20 partners. Revenues are predicted to drop between 30 and 40 per cent from the e142m (£95.6m) it recorded at the end of its last financial year, ended June 2003.