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Market watch: Accountancy firms, ABSs and the impact on law firms

Between 20 and 25 accountancy firms are considering applying for licences to operate as ABSs according to their regulator the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. They would be able to offer legal services themselves and would also have legal privilege for work carried out through their ABSs.

What benefits could sourcing legal advice through an accountancy ABS offer over legal advice from a law firm?

It was said in the past by those accountants seeking [in the late 1990s and early 2000s] to establish law firms that the big advantage for clients would be that they would then be able to buy all their advisory services from one source—the one stop shop—with all the synergies and efficiencies that would go with it. They were offering to open up their client bases to any law firms prepared to join them. But is that what clients want?


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