Law firm growth continues but sector slows – Deloitte Legal Firm Report

LawFuel – Fee income at the UK’s Top 100 law firms increased by 6.3% in Q1 (the quarter ended 31 July 2008) compared with the same period last year, according to the latest figures from business advisory firm Deloitte. Whilst the top 10 firms achieved double digit growth at 11.1%, the rate of growth is slowing across the industry.

Deloitte’s Quarterly Legal Sector Survey found that although revenue growth continued in Q1, the rate of growth has halved compared with that achieved in the previous quarter. In the prior year the top 100 firms grew by 12.0% in Q4, 10.6% in Q3, 12.5% in Q2 and 15.1% in Q1.

While overall fee income has increased, this has been achieved through increased rates with the volume of work performed remaining fairly static.

Jeremy Black, associate partner in Deloitte’s Professional Practices group, said: “The sector faces a challenging year with tough economic conditions expected to continue for the foreseeable future. However, in such an environment average growth of over 6% is still impressive and reflects the resilience of the industry to the downturn.

“Most firms are forecasting single digit growth for 2008/09. On average, the Top 100 are forecasting annual fee income growth of around 7.5% with the Top 10 only slightly higher at 8%. Firms outside the Top 10 have reduced their annual fee income growth forecast since they last provided the data in May, reflecting the current challenges facing the sector.”

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