Big Four accounting firm EY revealed earlier this month it is putting to a partner vote a proposal to shed its audit business in a bid to free its consulting divisions—including legal services—of the constraints and conflicts of interest that inhibit their growth. While there are many reasons why law firms should see an audit-free EY as a threat, many legal observers and insiders think competition for talent will be where Big Law might suffer the most.

EY expects the vote to begin on a country-by-country basis later this year and conclude by early 2023. If approved, the plan would reportedly result in seven-figure cash payouts to audit partners and multimillion-dollar share awards to the thousands of partners moving to the advisory business.