Survey reveals optimism amongst law firms despite increasing competition

Ian Cooper

Ian Cooper

Optimism among law firms is at its highest level since 2007 despite an increasingly competitive business environment.

This is according to new research by the Bristol office of accountancy and investment management group, Smith & Williamson.

A survey of 102 of the UK’s top 250 law firms by Smith & Williamson has revealed that eight in ten firms are confident about the year ahead, compared to just six in ten last year.

Firms with 25 partners or less appear the most upbeat, according to the research.

Ian Cooper, Partner at the Bristol office of Smith & Williamson comments: “Signs of renewed growth in Bristol and the wider South West economy as well as the UK generally look to be the primary factors behind these results.

“However, despite their optimism, the environment has become more competitive in the last 12 months with almost nine in every 10 respondents expecting to see greater competition as a result of the Legal Services Act.

“Pressure on fees was cited as the greatest, ongoing challenge.”

The other major challenge is the significant change to the tax rules governing the way partners of law firms and other partnerships are taxed.

In the survey, one-third saw merger with another firm as a route to improving their profitability.

To download a full of copy of Smith & Williamson’s research of law firms, please visit: