PwC Australia's Tony O'Malley named global head of Legal Services

07 June 2019 3 min. read
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Tony O’Malley, the leader of PwC’s legal arm in Australia and the Asia Pacific (APAC), has been promoted. O’Malley now is the global head of the Big Four accounting and advisory firm’s legal division, reflecting APAC’s growing profile in the global law market. 

O’Malley holds a Law degree from the University of Leicester, and began his professional career as a Solicitor at Dentons in the United Kingdom. He moved to Australia in 1995 to join telecom giant Telstra, where he spent half a decade and ascended to the position of Deputy General Counsel.

His longest professional spell came at the Australian practice of law firm King & Wood Mallesons, where he remained for more than 13 years and held the position of Managing Partner for Australia. He joined global professional services firm PwC’s Sydney office in 2014 as the Australia and APAC Leader for legal services.

He now takes over from Germany executive Heinz-Klaus Kroppen as the Global Leader for legal services, a shift that O’Malley believes “reflects the increasing importance of the Asia-Pacific region within the global legal network.” His appointment is effective from the 1st of June.

Tony OMalley - Global head of Legal Services at PwC

“The United Kingdom and continental Europe have been the beating hub for the legal network for many years, but if you look back the last 10 years, the Asia Pacific has really accelerated and started to play a much bigger role in the network. It’s a logical development,” said O’Malley. 

O’Malley’s market assessment appears to be manifesting in the behaviour of other Big Four accounting and advisory firms as well. Since the start of this year, KPMG has been significantly expanding its legal services profile in Australia, first with the launch of a government practice and subsequently through a partnership with legal tech experts.

PwC’s growth in Australia’s legal market can be attributed largely to O’Malley’s leadership. Since joining in 2014, the senior executive has taken the firm’s operations from two Partners to more than 30 Partners, who now stretch across PwC’s operations in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The expansion materialised against a backdrop of strong growth for PwC in the country – in the past three financial years, PwC grew its revenue from $1.9 billion to over $2.3 billion.

O’Malley expects growth in legal services to continue in the near future, and globally anticipates that PwC will go from operating in 98 markets across the globe to 100 over the next half a year. His personal geographical focus will remain in the APAC region, targeting markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

Earlier this year, PwC was named one of Australia’s top 25 employers.