Ed Stacey, PwC

PwC’s legal arm is mounting a major push into financial services in the U.K., with a target to recruit at least 50 lawyers during the next 18 months and continue to grow the practice in the next three years.

On current numbers, that would make it PwC’s third-largest legal department: immigration has about 80 lawyers, corporate 60 and employment about 40. The legal arm has experienced year-on-year growth since it began practicing law in 2014.

Ed Stacey, PwC’s head of legal services, said: ”We want the financial services legal offering to match what the rest of PwC does, because financial services is already big throughout the rest of PwC – so we want an adjacent legal piece.”

PwC’s current financial services practice has about a dozen lawyers focusing on financial services regulatory work, largely in the asset management sector.

The legal arm aims to expand this to broaden its expertise in financial regulatory, financial insurance, and funds. Its legal offering in the U.K. has about 450 client-facing staff and works across 16 practice areas.

Outside of financial services, PwC’s legal arm has grown significantly since 2016 when it became a multi-disciplinary practice, which allows legal firms to be part of an organisation that also offers other professional services.

It is now the largest of the Big Four firms and is the only one to practise law in more than 100 countries. It currently has 3,500 legal professionals worldwide, compared with Deloitte which has 2,500 legal professionals worldwide, KPMG which has 2,300, and EY which has 2,200.

Stacey said: “We’re further ahead with our business than the rest of the Big Four. We’re unique in size, in the scale of what we do, and the breadth of what we do. We also have a larger amount of international clients than some private practice law firms.”