Legal operations expert David Cambria joins PwC

17 June 2021 2 min. read
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David Cambria, nicknamed “the Godfather of legal operations,” has left law firm Baker McKenzie to join PwC US’ legal services department, according to a Bloomberg Law report.

Cambria will serve in a leadership position in PwC’s legal business solutions team, which provides technology and operations consulting to corporate legal departments.

Cambria has nearly 20 years of experience in legal consulting and operations. He was dubbed “the Godfather of legal operations” for his work leading the corporate legal departments of insurance firm Aon, technology products and services firm CDW, and food processor Archer Daniels Midland.

Cambria joined Baker McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms, to help streamline and transform its operating model as chief services officer. This included efforts at building a more efficient firm with more effective integration of e-discovery and automation technology to cut down on time-consuming and repetitive work.David Cambria, PwCPwC and the rest of the Big Four accountancies have been building up their legal services practices in the last decade. Deloitte’s legal practice, for example, already has more than 2,500 lawyers globally.

This is nothing new for the companies, which previously expanded from a core accounting function into management consulting, digital and technology advisory, and digital marketing. As PwC’s recent investment increase in ESG consulting demonstrates, the firms are willing to expand wherever future demand and margins are adequate.

The Big Four’s range of legal activities are more proscribed in the US than in other markets like the UK, where they can offer traditional legal work. The firms are, in most states, currently banned from co-owning law firms or operations that provide legal advice. However, Arizona and Utah have scrapped or modified this ban, and other states such as California are mulling a similar move. This would open the door for much greater investment into legal services from the Big Four.

For now, the US firms sell administrative services and consulting that help corporate legal departments streamline work in client contracts, invoices, e-discovery, and other areas. Cambria will be joining PwC’s version of this.

Deloitte last year opened its own technology unit aimed at helping corporate legal departments improve their e-discovery and contract management operations.