Legal Tech Looking at Partnerships with Big 4 Firms

The Big 4 are forcing traditional law firms to rethink their long-term strategies in light of the global firms’ inroads into the legal market, according to Law.com.

The Feb. 28 article cites the example of Thomson Reuters, which sold Pangea3, its legal managed services arm, to EY last year. The question is whether law firms’ tech subsidiaries might follow suit in transitioning “from Big 4 competitor to Big 4 solution provider.”

Kimball Parker, CEO of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s tech subsidiary SixFifty, told Law.com that the company “would love to partner” with the Big 4, but talks have not progressed. “There are layers of bureaucracy depending on what organization you are talking about. Just as a matter of course, it’s easier to partner with smaller, more nimble organizations,”

Legal tech consultant Zach Abramowitz says the Big 4, with their big budgets and expertise, could build their own solutions and “could even disincentivize law firms from bringing their products to the table in the first place.” He adds, “How much are law firms going to want to go and demo products to the Big 4 when the Big 4 might theoretically say, ‘Hey, why don’t we build that ourselves?’ ”

However, some observers say specialization may give legal tech companies a leg up. Accounting firms may be interested legal expertise in the General Data Protection Regulation, for example. Legal tech leaders are watching the competition and studying the complexities involved to see whether a partnership with the Big 4 may be possible.