Law Times

January 27, 2014

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 0 of 15

ICSID DEBATE M&A TRENDS Shareholder activism sparks proactive measures Follow LAW TIMES on $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 4 P5 FOCUS ON Investment treaties offer major benefits P7 Intellectual Property/ Trademark Law l aw TIMes ntitled-4 1 P9 January 27, 2014 12-03-20 10:44 A Accounting firms making 'serious noise' Legal industry urged to think broadly as acquisitions continue BY YAMRI TADDESE Law Times D eloitte's acquisition of document review company ATD Legal Services PC is only the latest move in a trend that shows accounting firms are "making serious noise" about tapping into the legal industry, an Ottawabased industry analyst says. Accounting firm Deloitte says it's advancing its Canadian financial forensics work through the acquisition of ATD Legal Services. The move means large-scale document review and analysis have become part of Deloitte's services and clients won't need to go to third parties for assistance in that area, according to Peter Dent, who leads Deloitte's forensic services practice in Canada. Document review will now be an extension of the financial data gathering work Deloitte already does for law firms as part of its expert witness services. "They [ATD] were service providers to law firms just like we are as part of our discovery practice, so it's basically adding a next stage or step we did not currently have in our practice," says Dent. "We're basically internalizing this process. So for the purpose of our clients, they only have to go to one vendor. They don't have to go to multiple vendors to have the discovery process met," he adds, noting the company now provides "end-to-end" discovery solutions. This isn't the first time Deloitte and other accounting firms have brought lawyers and other legal services into their business model to create what they call a onestop shop for their clients. According to Jordan Furlong, principal at Ottawa-based consulting firm Edge Deloitte's acquisition of document review company ATD Legal Services PC is a validation of the idea of outsourcing legal work in Canada, says Shelby Austin. Photo: Laura Pedersen International, the legal industry has a lot to learn from the accounting firms as they broaden their services to respond to client needs. In September 2013, Deloitte LLP announced its alliance with immigration law firm Shouli & Partners LLP. The joint venture would enable Deloitte LLP to provide business immigration services to its clients, the firm said. "We're excited by this alliance and what it means for our clients," said Heather Evans, Deloitte's national managing partner for tax, at the time. "S&P's legal services complement our existing tax practice, which means we can now offer a one-stop shop to address the complex business immigration requirements associated with a global operation." The year before, KPMG LLP announced that Greenberg Turner, an immigration firm, had joined KPMG Law LLP. Elio Luongo, KPMG's Canadian managing partner for tax, used the same phrase — "one-stop shop" — to describe what the accounting firm's practice had become with the merger. "Corporations with international operations move their people around the world and need to do so efficiently — this requires the very best in tax and immigration support," he said in a press release announcing the merger. "Combining our market leading international executive tax services with Greenberg Turner's immigration practice makes KPMG a one-stop shop for global clients' expatriate needs." Meanwhile, Ernst & Young has a long-standing immigration practice with Egan LLP and an alliance with tax law firm Couzin Taylor LLP. It's all a sign of accounting firms "making serious See Same, page 4 Lawyers urged to embrace in-house ethics counsel Law Times C 'If Bell or Rogers can have in-house counsel, why can't McCarthy and Torys and Davies have in-house counsel?' asks Stephen Pitel. Photo: Yamri Taddese anadian law firms shouldn't be squeamish about lawyering up internally when faced with ethical issues and should consider having in-house ethics counsel, according to a Western University law professor. Law firms are increasingly designating in-house lawyers as ethics counsel, said Prof. Stephen Pitel, who discussed his recent paper on the topic at a legal conference organized by the Centre for Legal Profession. "If Bell or Rogers can have in-house counsel, why can't McCarthy and Torys and Davies have in-house counsel?" he asked attendees at the event at the University of Toronto on Jan. 16. As the trend grows, Pitel said communications between ethics counsel and their colleagues within their firm should benefit from the same confidentiality afforded to lawyers and their clients. "Could the firm claim clientsolicitor privilege for communication between the in-house counsel and lawyers in the firm?" he asked. "One view is that that's preposterous." Partly due to what Pitel called "a robust notion of loyalty in Canada," some observers say a client who has hired a law firm should have the right to know what its lawyers are saying. But since it's common practice for law firms to hire external lawyers when they run into issues with clients, "it's not disloyal to internally lawyer up against a client," said Pitel. In his paper, he suggested that a lawyer faced with allegations of malpractice, for example, "may place his or her interest in securing a favourable outcome ahead of the interest of the client. These situations are understood not to violate the duty of loyalty largely because that duty must still allow a lawyer or a firm scope to safeguard its own position." He added: "A reasonable client would understand that a firm might require advice to PM #40762529 BY YAMRI TADDESE See Prof, page 4 Recruiting? Post your position on Great rates. Great reach. Great results. Contact Sandy Shutt at for details. JobsInLaw 1-8 pg 5X.indd 1 2/15/11 4:12:27 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Law Times - January 27, 2014