PwC Legal has set up a foreign law practice in Singapore under the banner of PwC Legal International to focus on regional transactions and projects.
The development is led by PwC’s global legal services leader Leon Flavell, who moved to Singapore earlier this year to oversee expansion in Asia Pacific.
The launch comes three months after The Lawyer first reported on the accountancy giant’s hire of two partners from international firms, real estate partner Natalie Breen from Norton Rose Fulbright and former Ashurst Singapore managing partner Keith McGuire.
PwC Legal also works with local firm Camford Law, which joined PwC’s global network in August 2014.
Flavell said: “The organic evolution of our business is in response to the growing market demand we are seeing in Asia for integrated business solutions across multiple territories. This is the driver behind this move to enhance our capabilities in the region.
“Moreover, such a move will add to the Singapore legal market in terms of attracting and anchoring talent and work here.”
Accountancy rival EY also previously attempted to offer foreign law advice in Singapore. EY Law set up DA Partners in June 2015, which was headed by former Herbert Smith Freehills’ Singapore managing partner John Dick and former EY Asia Pacific general counsel Evangelos Apostolou. However DA Partners ceased business a year after it was set up. EY continues to work with network member PK Wong & Associates for Singaporean legal services.
The Lawyer’s Asia Pacific 150 report, published in June 2016, found the Big Four accountants are gaining serious ground in their push to dominate Asia Pacific. The combined lawyer headcount of the Big Four increased by 17.3 per cent to 805 in the region last year, faster than any of their law firm competitors.
PwC, which has the largest legal services offering among the Big Four, continued its strong expansion this year. Its Australian arm also recently added six partners from leading local and international firms,including Clifford Chance Australia co-founder Mark Pistilli and DLA Piper’s former Australia chief Tony Holland.
For the inside perspective on the Big Four accountants in Asia, order your copy of the Asia Pacific 150 2016 report. Contact Richard Edwards on 0207 970 4672 or at firstname.lastname@example.org