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