The Belgium Bar, who makes and enforces rules relative to relationships between law firms and auditors, may ease up on previous restrictions preventing such alliances.
This is good news for Arthur Andersen and its operations in Europe as it seeks to align itself with legal practices to gain a larger market share.
Andersen has worked with the law firm of Caestecker & Partners for the last three years on an informal basis, and will consider a partnership with the firm should rules relax to allow such relationships.
Still, experts at Big 5 firms say the industry has a long road ahead, as rule-making Dutch and French bodies may only allow a direct alliance with the auditing side and not any other facet of the accounting practice. Lawyers actually in Big 5 firms have sacrificed their bar membership.