Accountancy giant Deloitte has been awarded an alternative business structure (ABS) licence. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has approved Deloitte’s application to operate as a multi-disciplinary practice. The Deloitte announcement comes six months after it presented its plans to go compete directly with law firms. The licence, which came into effect on 15 June, allows the firm to provide reserved legal services in the UK, namely rights of audience, conduct of litigation, reserved instrument activities, probate activities and administration of oaths. Deloitte recently announced an alliance with US immigration law firm Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) to create a new global immigration service, which includes Deloitte taking over eight of BAL’s non-US offices: the UK, Singapore, Australia, Dubai, China, South Africa, Mozambique and Brazil.
The award means all ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms in the UK now have a legal arm. PwC‘s legal operation was granted ABS status at the start of 2014, while KPMG and EY received their SRA approval later in the same year. Deloitte may also join rivals in offering training contact, which rivals have done since licensing, with PwC having an annual intake of some 25 graduates.