Inspired by the Big Four accounting giants, Melbourne-headquartered mid-tier accounting firm Moore Stephens Victoria has rolled out a new legal services division, with the hire of former Dentons partner Alexander Nielsen, a circa 10 years PQE lawyer with experience in corporate, tax, real estate and asset management matters.

“The big four financial services firms have proven there is a desire from clients for a more holistic model, and like all good ideas, this eventually trickles down,” said Nielsen, who left Dentons’ Melbourne office to lead the new division. “It’s an exciting opportunity to be one of the first in the mid-market space to evolve into this area, and it’s a chance to not only show Moore Stephens’ leadership but also create real value for our clients.

“Our accounting and business advisors have many high-quality relationships, and as a lawyer, it’s a rare privilege to become part of a client’s core team rather than being consulted on one-off matters. This is a chance for clients to streamline the process while engaging multiple advisors to deepen our relationships with clients. It’s a single team, with a single client’s best interest in mind.”

The new offering will aim to reduce the friction across multiple advisors, with Neilsen adding: “We’re interested in making this work by integrating legal services with our existing service lines across our tax, accounting and business advisory.”

Moore Stephens said that initially the division will leverage off the firm’s extensive network and Nielsen’s expertise across a range of sectors.  It will then monitor how the market responds to the new proposition as well as developing a more thorough understanding of how its clients consume legal services.

“As a lawyer, it’s not often you get the chance to mould something from the ground up, and there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the newer ways of operating in terms of technology,” Nielsen says. “We hope this will drive efficiencies and move away from time-billing in a way that works for both clients and the firm.”

“We’re coming in with an open mind about how best legal services can be delivered and whether that includes new service delivery models. Whatever we establish, it has to present the best outcome for clients.”