The Big 4 Article

How the Big 4 will disrupt legal services

Simon Drane, December 7th 2018.

A week before attending the professional services event “Alternative AI & Blockchain for Professional Services “, I shared an article on LinkedIn that I had read in the FT on the Big 4 disrupting legal services. Within a very short time it was viewed over 10,000 times and had 100 likes. I have shared some posts before but never had that many readers so I was intrigued. The comments others made also seemed to echo my own thoughts on why the Big 4 would likely be successful, having seen first hand when I worked for Andersen the ambition for expanding into law. I suggested that the Big 4 would likely be successful as they focused on processes well, understood the power of technology and were perhaps more focused on how to run a profitable business and solve their clients’ business problems in a more holistic manner.

At the event this week though, I realised the most obvious reason for why they may be successful. Shamus Rae, partner at KPMG, gave a fascinating talk about their project called “Engine B”, which in essence is a project to look at how you would disrupt yourself, and also some really fascinating thinking around the creation of a common data model which would create a more secure marketplace, cut costs and increase quality.

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Simon Drane

Simon Drane

earlsferry advisory
Simon has held numerous positions within the professional services sector over the last 25 years, at a FTSE 100 legal information solution provider, a legal technology consultancy, a law firm, an accounting firm, and a legal membership organisation. Simon has qualifications in law and tax, and deep experience in commercial product strategy. Simon has board level experience of both executive and non-executive roles, and as CEO of a technology startup. He has a strong track record in creating innovative product strategies resulting in multiple new multimillion pound high growth lines of business. Simon led the new investments product strategy area at LexisNexis and created and launched many of the next generation content and workflow product offerings for lawyers. At the Law Society Simon ran the commercial arm of the organisation and restructured a set of commercial investments through taking board seats. He also implemented a new commercial strategy including a significant shift in focus to legal technology innovation including the launch of a legal tech focused Barclays EagleLab accelerator. Simon has also held senior knowledge management roles in both law and accounting firms. Simon established earlsferry advisory towards the end of 2018 to help people with their product strategies, whether they are technology businesses, professional services businesses or investors into these spaces.