Tony O'Malley and Tim Blue have both been appointed partner at PwC.
PwC plans to build a premium multi-competency legal practice globally, targeting annual legal services revenue of $100 million-plus in Australia.
Mr O’Malley was King & Wood Mallesons' managing partner Australia and its deputy global managing partner until early last year. Mr Blue was the managing partner responsible for the firm's Corporate M&A and Tax practices and has held various other leadership and governance positions including managing partner, international and was a member of the firm's board.
Luke Sayers, chief executive of PwC Australia said the firm is constantly looking at clients' changing needs and emerging gaps in the market as other industries are disrupted to identify potential opportunities.
“The changing dynamics we have seen in the legal profession over the past decade means that client-buying decisions are now wide open. Clients are no longer seeking premium legal services from only a small handful of large firms."
"Our legal practice has been growing steadily over the past five years and we believe the time is right to invest in this part of our business to broaden and deepen our legal services offering and target the premium corporate advisory space."
"A premium legal service is a natural adjacent and complementary offering to a number of our core competencies; particularly international and domestic tax, deals, corporate finance, regulatory and our new people offering, which specialises in human resource-related matters."
Mr O'Malley will lead the firm's legal practice in Australia and across the Asia Pacific, and join PwC's global legal services board.
Mr Blue will also join PwC as a partner, deputising for Mr O’Malley in his leadership roles and heading the firm's corporate and commercial legal practice.
Mr O'Malley said, "PwC's global network has size and scale second to none. We will leverage this scale to build a legal services offering that is tailored to the needs of the firm's clients in a way that is not encumbered by the legacy issues that some of the established law firms are struggling with."
"No-one has created a truly global platform in the legal profession and we believe PwC has a real opportunity to do this."
"We were drawn to PwC for a number of reasons – their agility in responding to market changes and their intense client focus; their capacity to invest for future growth; the ability to create a focused, highly integrated offering across a multi-disciplinary practice; and the opportunities presented by their leadership position in their areas of core competency as well as the sheer size and scale of their global network," Mr O’Malley said.