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🥧 The Big Four want more pie


In today's email, we've got:

  • the Big Four gaining on law firms

  • our British pound getting weaker than it's been in a while

  • a list of which law firms you should apply to first

If you take just one thing from this email...

Alternative legal services providers (like the Big Four) are able to bring in legal expertise by hiring (lawyers) or acquiring (law firms). 


Hey, hey!

Welcome to the new LittleLaw, back after a summer break. You'll notice that things look a bit different here (we've switched to a different email provider).

A lot's changed for me personally over the summer, too. 

  1. My sister got engaged,

  2. I finished my training contract,

  3. I turned a year older (in fact, today's my birthday).

Our plans for LittleLaw have also changed a lot too. It's now a 'newsletter-first' platform. That means our best stuff goes here (as opposed to on social media platforms, or anywhere else). We felt this was the best way to directly interact with you guys in the simplest way.

Let me know your thoughts on the new format by replying to this email. We're learning as we're going along, so would love to get your views.

- Idin


🥧 The Big Four want more pie

Credit: Giphy

What's going on here?

The ‘Big Four’ are taking on traditional law firms to provide legal services, and it seems to be working. 

What does this mean?

The Big Four professional services firms (which is made up of PwC, KPMG, EY and Deloitte) are stepping on the toes of traditional law firms - which isn’t anything new. It’s a trend that started in the 1990s. But, over the last decade, they have all been investing heavily in their legal arms. The difference is that now, after some time has passed, we can start to see the results. 

How did they do it?

They’ve focused on getting lawyers in the door. This has been done by two different means:

  1. Organically attracting legal talent (hiring qualified lawyers or offering training contracts 👀), and

  2. Through acquisitions of existing law firms (e.g. in 2021, Deloitte acquired intellectual property law firm Kemp Little, bringing on board 80 new lawyers).

Why did they do it?

In short… they don’t want to share the pie.

Before the Big Four could offer legal services, they’d have awesome clients who they’d do work for (accountancy, audit, consulting etc.). But, when it came to legal work, they’d have to let a law firm come in and advise them and share a bit of the pie. So, after a while, they thought that they’d rather keep that slice of pie to themselves. 

The benefit for clients is that they can get more of their professional services work done at a ‘one-stop-pie-shop’ as opposed to dealing with separate accountants, lawyers, consultants, etc.

Is it working?

It seems to be heading in the right direction for the new guys. Research from Thomson Reuters showed that big corporations are apparently “snubbing traditional law firms” in favour of alternative legal service providers (like the Big Four). 

So why aren’t the Big Four on top of the legal market now?

If I asked you to name five law firms, I bet you’d not mention any of the Big Four. Well, it’s the same with big corporations. Awareness is a big challenge that the Big Four need to overcome before they can get near established law firms which are known for doing one thing really well.

Another challenge is relationships. While law firms and specific individuals in those firms have been able to build long-lasting relationships with clients, this is hard to replicate quickly.

Also, the top commercial law firms tend to have expertise in different specialisms while the Big Four’s legal arms are more generalist. This means that Big Four clients with specific, complex legal issues still need help from external law firms. But, the Big Four are acquiring more specialist law firms to try and close that knowledge gap.

There's still some way to go, but a message to law firms: Don't ignore the Big Four!


The best-looking way to get commercially aware 🔥

It's the worst kept secret of all time (if you follow either us or The Lawyer Spot on IG, you'd already know).

We're excited to be partnering with this awesome organisation to release the notebook you need to shake off your commercial unawareness.

This notebook has got:

  1. the quality of The Lawyer Spot's stationery,

  2. the frameworks of LittleLaw's commercial reports, and

  3. the ability to make improving your commercial awareness (ergh) an actual delight (wow).

Let us know what you think! ❤️


What am I?

Can you name this iconic London skyscraper? (💡Clue: It's the London home to Kirkland & Ellis)

Scroll down to the bottom to see if you were right. 👀


  • 🚗 Porsche IPO could raise up to €75bn for parent Volkswagen: Volkswagen could be zooming to big pile of cash as Porsche could be valued at as much as €75bn when it floats on the Frankfurt stock exchange later this month. This would make it one of the largest European public offerings to date.

  • 💸 The Great British pound has dropped to its lowest point since in 37 years: The sterling has dropped below $1.14 taking it to its worst point since 1985. The pound has been falling against the US currency for most of the year. This means that British companies buying assets overseas will find that their money will not stretch as far.

  • 💻 Google faces a €25bn legal action in UK and the EU: The tech giant has been accused of acting anti-competitively by manipulating the market for online advertising. Google's been fined before but it's never been significant enough to actually cause it to make major changes. Both of these lawsuits are being funded by Harbour (a litigation funder). Harbour is a privately-owned company which pays legal costs upfront in return for a pre-agreed share of the amount recovered if the legal action is successful.


  • 📝 Applications: The Corporate Law Academy has a thread listing all the law firms that recruit on a 'rolling basis' (meaning the firms start giving out roles as soon as they start receiving applications).

  • 😍 Interesting: This website uses AI to let you colourise old black and white photos.

  • 🗞 Useless: Groundbreaking new research finds that turning off air conditioning during the day can save money.

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Quiz Answer: 30 St. Mary Axe (or 'the Gherkin')