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.
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.
Law firm survey 2019
Confidence among senior executives is a factor that has been measured over the majority of the last 25 years. Levels of optimism have taken a significant dip this year, in light of the US-China trade wars, tensions in the Gulf, the ongoing Brexit saga and signs of a weakening global and domestic economy.
Alongside lower levels of confidence is continued competitive pressure: from traditional UK firms, US firms and, now recognised as a threat here to stay, the Big 4 accountants. Retention of good people is the number one concern to emerge from the survey, with firms vying to attract the best and brightest minds. It’s not just cyber-security that firms are focusing on in technology investment over the next 12 months with the automation of manual processes and improving the client experience, being a close second and third in terms of priorities.
For the first time the survey asked whether the Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) model still best served the needs of the business. There is a clear view that a pure LLP structure may not be the best arrangement to take these organisations forward. This clearly indicates just how much and how rapidly the legal sector has been changing over the last few years.
We also hear from Pam Sayers, a partner in Smith & Williamson’s Professional Practices team, on her reflections of the past 25 years and the changes she has seen first-hand in the legal industry.
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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.