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-sixth year, our 2020 law firm survey, developed in association with The Lawyer, reveals many law firms were ill-prepared for the seismic shock from the coronavirus outbreak. The survey was carried out across May and June 2020 and completed by 198 managing partners and senior management personnel across the UK.

Together with Legal Week, 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 2020

Now in its twenty-sixth year, our 2020 law firm survey, developed in association with The Lawyer, reveals many law firms were ill-prepared for the seismic shock from the coronavirus outbreak. The crisis has cast an uncomfortable light on firms with poor financial management or without the necessary technology infrastructure. The pandemic already appears to be widening the gap between law firms, with some now under real pressure. The survey was carried out across May and June 2020 and completed by 198 managing partners and senior management personnel across the UK.

 

Learn more
Law Firm Survey 1920X1080

Legal Week Top 50

The legal market saw another strong year, with buoyant demand for legal services driving strong revenue and profit growth across the sector.

However, with little improvement in lock-up or cash levels, the sector looked vulnerable as it headed into the COVID-19 crisis.

We delve into the issues affecting the legal industry: why are efficiency gains proving stubbornly hard to achieve? How can the sector address the problem of lock-up and improve its cash position? Is it too late?

We provide in-depth analysis, in association with Legal Week, of law firm LLP accounts for the year 2018-2019. Using recently filed data from Companies House, we look at everything from debt levels to profit margins to partner capital to build robust insight into the health of the legal sector.

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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.

The competitive landscape

The competitive landscape

Law firms feel the heat, as international groups and the Big 4 accountants issue a challenge

Changing business structures

Changing business structures

Can the LLP structure cope with the demands of a modern law firm?

Is lock-up coming down at last?

Is lock-up coming down at last?

No progress on lock-up? – Improvements in lock-up continue to prove elusive, presenting a key risk for law firms.

Are law firms immune to the march of technology?

Are law firms immune to the march of technology?

Law firms remain slow adopters of technology. Although there have been some improvements in efficiencies, technology is not having the transformational effect it has had on other industries, such as retail or media.

Is the legal market in robust health?

Is the legal market in robust health?

Our analysis of the top 50 law firms’ filed accounts for the 2017/18 year shows the legal market in robust health in terms of revenues.

Lock-up: a stubbornly persistent problem

Lock-up: a stubbornly persistent problem

Lock-up continues to increase. Law firms remain poorly insulated against any major shock to the economy.

UK: don't bury your head

UK: don't bury your head

Have attitudes towards Brexit changed one year on? 

The Competitive Landscape

The Competitive Landscape

Is there misplaced comfort in assuming yesterday's competitors will be the same as tomorrow's?

The Emergence of Legal Technology

The Emergence of Legal Technology

Client demand leads technical innovation

Law firms: are you driving efficiency?

Law firms: are you driving efficiency?

Revenue among law firms has reached record highs according to recent figures. However, key barometers of efficiency appear to be questioning how healthy the sector really is.

Why law firms need to be thinking about European expansion

Why law firms need to be thinking about European expansion

Law firms need to consider their European strategy as Brexit draws closer

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

HMRC has recently released draft regulations and a consultation document on the sixth version of the Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC6), an EU directive that will be implemented in the UK.

The continued dominance of legal technology

The continued dominance of legal technology

The continued dominance of legal technology - Investments in technology continue to dominate law firm budgets and their strategic direction

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