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Today’s expansion efforts aren’t the first time that the Big Four have attempted to crack the legal services market. Seeking to create multidisciplinary practices that would combine audit and advisory services in a one-stop shop for their clients, the Big Four made their first forays into law practice more than two decades ago.

Now-defunct Arthur Andersen made the first leap into legal services, followed by its competitors Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand, who later merged to form PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 1993, Arthur Andersen entered into an alliance with Garrett & Co., a newly established London firm with particular expertise in intellectual property. Price Waterhouse formed an alliance with 16-lawyer London firm Arnheim & Co. in 1996, and the following year Coopers & Lybrand penned a similar deal with Tite & Lewis. When the two accounting firms combined in 1998 to form PricewaterhouseCoopers, so did the law firms, creating Arnheim Tite & Lewis.

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