September 28, 2012
Deloitte’s most recent quarterly legal sector survey has provided some encouraging news.
It has shown an average increase in fee income of 3.8% across the top 100 UK law firms in the quarter ending 31 July 2012, when compared to the same quarter of 2011. Whilst one national legal periodical would prefer to view these results with a negativity and scepticism that has infiltrated journalism since 2008, CapeClarke prefers to focus on the positive.
It may be the slowest year-on-year quarterly growth since the period ending 31 January 2011, but at a time when the economy officially ‘plunged’ back into a recession, any form of growth in the legal sector can only be viewed in an encouraging light.
The results highlight that the top 10 UK law firms saw an increase in fee income over the period, posting a 1.7% rise, compared with 2.0% for the law firms ranked 11 to 25 and 4.5% for those between 26 and 50. A lack of regular M&A work has been cited as the reason why the firms ranked outside of the top 10 have fared better in the last quarter. Whilst this may be true, one can also not overlook the ability and willingness of law firms outside of the magic and silver circles to look at more competitive pricing structures.
Again, more optimistic findings are present in the recruitment of staff. Firms across the top 25 saw an increase in headcount, with those firms ranked between 11 and 25 in the UK, in particular, posting an increase of 5%. One only needs to think back three years to a time when solicitors at certain firms felt they were ‘continually looking over their shoulders’ at the fear of redundancy.
Fee income to April 2013 is also expected to rise across the top 100 by 5%. Some might call that progress.
Whilst nobody, and certainly not CapeClarke, should get carried away by these results, it is asserted they are worthy of feeling cautiously optimistic.
If you would like to discuss this blog, have been thinking about a move or would just like some general advice about options in the market, please feel free to contact Terry Cape or Chris Clarke on 0113 2385965.
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