National Publication Discusses “The Big Four” Accounting Firms Expanding into Legal Services with Smith Anderson Managing Partner

The American Lawyer

In the article, “The Big Four Threat is Real. Are You Ready?The American Lawyer’s Lizzy McLellan and Ben Seal explore the impact of “The Big Four” accounting firms offering services traditionally provided by lawyers and its effect on the legal industry, particularly mid-sized firms. 

Smith Anderson managing partner Gerald Roach provided insight into what the move by the “The Big Four” means for mid-sized firms. Gerald noted that Smith Anderson competes with accounting firms in the same way it does with anyone else – by fostering strong client relationships, offering regional market rates that are lower than national competitors and embracing alternative fee arrangements. 

“For right or wrong, I think of accounting firms as another competitor along with large national firms or national specialty firms, rather than something unique,” Gerald said. “The notion that some mid-size firms could be picked off because they’re easier targets, we have not found to be the case with Smith Anderson.” 

Speaking to the firm’s agility and competitive advantage in the market, Gerald shared that Smith Anderson has been deliberate in deciding what types of work to pursue – and those are not practice areas that accounting firms and large national firms are typically targeting. Gerald concludes his commentary with his thoughts on the state of the market and future strategic positioning. 

Gerald’s practice involves domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate governance matters, public company securities, private financings, technology law and advising boards of directors and special committees. He regularly represents public and private growth companies and private equity firms with their general corporate needs and domestic and international transactions. In January 2016, Gerald was named Smith Anderson’s Managing Partner for a three-year term. Previously, he served for 15 years as Chair of the firm's Policy and Planning Committee and Team Leader of the Corporate Practice. 

The American Lawyer subscribers can view the full here.


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