Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 14:04 EDT

UK Legal Services Market Report

March 12, 2013

DUBLIN, March 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Research and Markets announces the addition of “UK Legal Services Market 2012″ to its

The UK Legal Services Market Report
[http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/xqdpb3/uk_legal_services ] from IRN Research
provides a market review of the UK legal services market, a market that is experiencing
fundamental changes as new legal suppliers enter the market, some existing players change
their operating and business models, and new ways of delivering and using legal services

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769 )

The UK legal services market (including private practice firms, barristers, patent
agents, and other legal professionals) was valued at almost GBP26bn in 2010 and annual
growth of 5% signalled a recovery after declining sales in 2009. In 2011, market growth is
expected again but at a lower rate than 2010. Underlying this overall growth rate there
are clear differences between the fortunes of the top 100 or so law firms and the long
tail of 10,000-plus law firms and solicitors that make up the rest of the market. Most of
the top firms are out-performing the market overall in terms of revenue and profits growth
while lower down the market many medium and smaller law firms are struggling to grow
revenues significantly and are working on low margins.

While changes in the market place are predicted to reduce the number of law firms and
solicitors operating in the market, there are no signs of this yet. The number of law
firms in the UK is still growing and the number of practising solicitors has been rising
year-on-year for the last five years and the overwhelming majority of these are still
based in private practice. However, solicitor numbers are growing at the fastest rate
outside private practice and most notably in in-house corporate legal departments. Also
increasing very rapidly is the number of paralegals employed in law firms.

The period 2011-2012 is likely to be remembered as the period when the transformation
of the UK legal services market gathered pace. For some years, there have been competitors
to traditional law firms offering legal services but the number of competitors is likely
to increase led by the arrival of Alternative Business Structures (ABS). From January
2012, these allow non-lawyers to invest in law firms in England and Wales. Initially, the
number of businesses applying to become ABS is small but more are likely to come forward
in the next year or so.

Alongside ABS, other legal service models are appearing such as white-label legal
services from organisations such as the AA and Saga in conjunction with law firms, branded
franchise networks of high street law firms, and DIY online legal services.

Generally it is expected that it will be the smaller and medium-sized law firms that
face the most threat from these new supplies and particular those that operate general
practices covering various practice areas. Areas such as conveyancing, wills, divorce are
high-volume, low margin sectors that involve a large amount of routine legal processing.
So these areas offer opportunities for commoditisation and economies of scale and appeal
to some of the new larger players entering the market. Volume suppliers of these services
amongst law firms are also doing well so smaller law firms are fighting for a reduced
share of the market.

Other issues likely to have an impact on the market in the coming months include: new
compliance demands on law firms and solicitors from a new regulatory regime
(Outcomes-focused regulations) introduced in October 2011; the proposed ban on referral
fees; a reduction in funding for legal aid.

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