Legal Professionals

We seek not just to solve, but to anticipate the challenges faced by the legal industry. Our insight programme shines a light on the most pressing issues, while working collaboratively to find thoughtful solutions for clients.

Now in its twenty-seventh year, our 2021 law firm survey, developed in association with The Lawyer, shows many law firms have managed to not just survive, but thrive during the recent crisis. The majority of firms are emerging from the crisis confident about the outlook and in a better financial position. However, many also recognise the importance of change, to maintain their competitive advantage, to attract talent and to build the right culture.

Together with Law.com International, we analysed the latest set of filed accounts for the top 50 UK law firms to explore the financial health of the profession.

Recognised as a leading adviser to the legal market, we offer a co-ordinated, cross-discipline approach. Our services cross accounting, tax, business, investment management and financial planning, each tailored to the needs of you and your firm. We have capabilities in over 115 countries, provided in part through our membership of Nexia International and Oaklins International. We strive to help our clients achieve their financial ambitions, no matter where in the world.

 



Day to day advice

Accounting and assurance: Providing accounting advice and comfort on financial reporting in a highly regulated environment

Tax compliance and advice: Preparing and submitting your firm’s and partners’ annual tax returns, along with advising on the tax impact of various transactions and structures.

Firms with growth ambitions

M&A: Full service offering, including due diligence, structuring, project management and post-deal implementation.

Funding: Advising on finance options, including optimal partner funding, improving lock-up management and securing external investment.

Strategic planning

Employee benefitsEnsuring you can attract and retain the best talent.

Partners’ financesA full range of financial planning and investment advice to provide enhanced financial security.

Profit sharingAdvising on profit sharing strategies to drive desired behaviours.

Incorporation: Assisting with the incorporation of a partnership as a company or LLP.

Managing risks

Partnership disputesActing as expert witness and mediating on disputes

Investigations into rogue partner activitiesAssessment of scale of inappropriate behaviours and prevention measures

Data identification post cyber-attacks: Investigation into impact of hacking activity

Administration of insolvent professional practicesFormal appointments and solutions for firms in financial distress

Get in touch

To find out more about how we can help, fill in the below form and a Smith & Williamson contact will get in touch.



 

Law firm survey 2021

Now in its twenty-seventh year, our 2021 law firm survey, developed in association with The Lawyer, shows many law firms have managed to not just survive, but thrive during the recent crisis. The majority of firms are emerging from the crisis confident about the outlook and in a better financial position. However, many also recognise the importance of change, to maintain their competitive advantage, to attract talent and to build the right culture.

Learn more
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Law firms: facing the pandemic head on

The pandemic presented law firms with their greatest challenge in a generation. For the most part, our analysis, compiled with Law.Com International, of the latest set of filed accounts for the top 50 UK law firms for 2019-20 suggests that despite the pandemic arriving only just prior to their year ends, they were impacted.

In the first few precarious months, law firms acted quickly to preserve cash, improving their debtor days, negotiating with banks and cutting partner distributions.

However, with revenues of £19.5bn should the sector have been better prepared and less reliant upon government support to avert an even deeper challenge. There are undoubtedly lessons the sector can draw from the crisis.

 

Learn more
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Professional Practices Leaders

Professional practices are contending with an increasingly competitive marketplace for both talent and clients. Leaders must also look at the role for technology and how to create efficiency and productivity.

In our Professional Practice Leaders section, we talk to your peers about how they have handled these and other challenges and the steps they're taking to build the practices of the future.

 

Clare Maurice

Related content

The impact of the pandemic

The impact of the pandemic

Unprecedented Government support

Lock-up

Lock-up

The importance of cash

Business direction

Business direction

Digital transformation and the ‘new normal’

Competitive pressure

Competitive pressure

The legal landscape

The end of the office?

The end of the office?

Working from home

Lock-up: debtor days fall, but problems remain

Lock-up: debtor days fall, but problems remain

For many years, the legal profession has been subject to the apparently small but persistent problem of managing lock-up. Firms consistently have large outstanding debtor days and poor cash flow. In normal times, this leaves firms with limited cash resources to invest in the business. Today, as law firms struggle with the impact of COVID-19, it may pose a more serious threat.

Efficiency: productivity gains elusive

Efficiency: productivity gains elusive

While revenues and profits have continued to increase as demand for legal services expands, law firms have found it difficult to improve productivity at the same time. This is in spite of higher spending on technology and people, which should bring about efficiency gains.

Revenues are buoyant, but are law firms prepared for a crisis?

Revenues are buoyant, but are law firms prepared for a crisis?

With revenues of £18.6bn, the accounts of the top 50 law firms for the 2018/2019 year show they continued to make hay in the sunshine of a strong global economy and buoyant client demand.

Professional Practices: COVID-19: what will the future look like?

Professional Practices: COVID-19: what will the future look like?

01/06/2020 - As the Government imposed lockdown, we explored the immediate action all firms should take to protect themselves financially. We then looked at the lessons to be learned so far from the impact of the pandemic on professional services firms. In this insight we look further ahead, assessing the potential longer-term consequences.

COVID-19 - what have we learned so far?

COVID-19 - what have we learned so far?

28/04/2020 - The challenging and fast-moving environment that professional practices are operating in during the COVID-19 crisis, has led to some interesting themes emerging. 

Professional Practices: Sound financial management in tough times

Professional Practices: Sound financial management in tough times

30/03/2020 - In light of the challenging and fast-moving environment professional practices are operating in during the COVID-19 crisis, here is a summary of some key areas to focus on.

International tax reporting changes: Directive on Administrative Cooperation 6 and the Mandatory Disclosure Rules

International tax reporting changes: Directive on Administrative Cooperation 6 and the Mandatory Disclosure Rules

The Directive on Administrative Cooperation 6 (“DAC6”) is a response to the OECD’s Mandatory Disclosure Rules aiming to strengthen tax transparency across the EU and counter aggressive tax planning. On 31 December 2020, HMRC confirmed that the application of DAC6 will be severely limited in the UK to align with the OECD’s Mandatory Disclosure Regime (“MDR”). This means that only those arrangements that meet Hallmark D of DAC6 will need to be reported in the UK. DAC6 continues to apply in full across the EU.

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