17 January 2014

UK BigLaw gives up on winning new work

Cross-selling is easier than finding new clients in the current climate, according to new research released this week.

By Crystal Williams

Cross-selling is easier than finding new clients, according to new research EDHAR

Pressure on fees is the greatest challenge for UK BigLaw firms in 2014 whilst maintaining profitability and winning new work is of major concern to them. And although there is greater confidence in the market, 81 per cent of the respondents to the annual Smith & Williamson survey said that securing a sufficient share of the available legal work was proving increasingly tough with nine out of ten BigLaw practices reporting an increase in competitive pressure.

Other measures

Firms have taken measures to become more competitive with 39 per cent saying they set up a new service line in the last year whilst 24 per cent expected to in the next year. Cross-selling to existing clients is getting a greater focus than winning new business whilst 18 per cent have sub-let office space,15 per cent have de-equitised partners, 14 per cent have opened a new UK office, 12 per cent have opened an overseas office and 11 per cent have centralised functions.

Merger fever

One in three firms are considering a merger whilst larger firms are exploring overseas expansion in the year ahead.
Meanwhile one in two UK firms are planning to reduce their lock-up arrangements as a means to help improve firms’ finances in 2014. Another two in five are considering it. About 28 percent of participants are expecting to merge or actively seeking a merge partner.The 19th Annual Survey of the Legal Sector conducted by Smith & Williamson had 102 UK law firm respondents. Source: Mondaq

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