As states such as Utah and Arizona have approved opening up their legal marketplaces to alternative business structures in recent months, there has been speculation that the Big Four accounting firms would be among those seeking to take advantage.
Don Fancher, a principal in Deloitte’s legal business services practice in the United States, acknowledges that his firm has been monitoring the regulatory reform developments taking place in several states.
But he says Deloitte has no current plans to apply to offer direct legal services in this country as it does in other nations.
“These are issues happening in the industry that are important to our legal department clients, as well as our law firm clients, so we certainly pay attention,” Fancher says of regulatory reform initiatives in the United States. “As it relates to our own strategy, at this point, it doesn’t really impact that strategy.”
“If we see business opportunities, we will address those opportunities and pursue those opportunities,” he adds.
For now, Fancher says Deloitte is focused in the United States on growing the legal business services practice that it launched in July.
A key component of the practice is helping corporate legal departments better utilize technology, including through embracing automation of certain tasks. Fancher says legal industry clients have room for growth when it comes to contract automation and would benefit from implementing contract lifecycle management, or CLM, software.
“There’s no doubt an increasing interest in seeing how technology in that regard can create a more efficient business as usual process,” Fancher says.