Detail from Above the Law article on EY’s acquisition of Pangea3

In early April, Ernst & Young (EY) announced that it had acquired the legal outsourcing service provider Pangea3 from Thomson Reuters, increasing the intensity of the accounting giant’s assault on the legal services industry. Robert Ambrogi at Above the Law warns that the move “does not bode well for law firms.”

Pangea3 was originally established in 2005 to provide legal outsourcing to law professionals in India. A profile on Wikipedia reports that today the company has a staff of 1000 “attorneys, engineers, scientists and professionals providing global legal outsourcing services in seven offices across the United States and India.”

EY’s acquisition of Pangea3 follows its 2018 acquisition of Riverview Law, a UK firm whose innovative practice featured such initiatives as fixed-price-managed services for in-house teams, and the use of virtual assistants.

Ambrogi reminds us that today, “calling EY an accounting firm is like calling Amazon a bookseller. EY is a global professional services firm — actually a network of member firms — that provides a range of consulting and advisory services.” With the Riverview Law and Pangea3 acquisitions, the reorganization of the company’s legal services in the UK into “EY Law,” and other areas of expansion both geographically and technologically, Ernst & Young is taking a commanding position in the increasingly popular and rapidly growing segment of the legal market known as “alternative legal service providers” (ALSPs).

Ambrogi’s article, which delves into the subject far more thoroughly than I do here and is deserving of our close attention, cites two major studies that have examined the rise of ALSPs worldwide. Ambrogi attributes their success to their facility (better than that of most law firms, he suggests) with “people, process and technology,” and particularly to their sophistication in the technology arena.

Are major accounting firms about to push Big Law out of business? Let me know your thoughts on this or any other matter relating to the law, either in the comments section below, or directly via email.