Tech change driving forecasted $1011 billion global legal services market

Global legal services market set to grow from $849 billion in 2017 to a forecast $1011 billion by 2021, a report says.

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The market growth is driving development of new applications for the legal services industry, helping legal services firms to enhance their productivity, provide innovative product offerings and improve service quality. One trend highlighted is the use of smartphones, Software-as-a service and secure, web-based technology to allow legal professionals to work from remote locations. These developments have helped the global legal services growth rate accelerate slightly to 4.5% year on year, the report from The Business Research Company shows.

Survey results
North Americas’ legal services market is the largest in the world. It currently accounts for 49.4% of the global total. North America's legal services market is dominated by the US. Increased number merger and acquisitions activity has driven the legal services market in North America. Western Europe’s legal services market is the second largest in the world. It currently accounts for about 21.6% of the total. The size of Western Europe’s legal system is supported by its tradition of rigorous implementation of legal and regulatory requirements. By type of service, B2B legal services was the largest segment in 2017, accounting for about 47.8% of the legal services market. Segmentation by type of service provider includes large law firms and SME law firms. Large law firms have a 60.8% of the legal services market. The financial services industry was the largest end user of legal services, accounting for about 40.8% of the global total. By type of practice, litigation was the largest segment, accounting for 31% of the global total. 

Fragmented market
The global legal services market is highly fragmented with a number of small and large companies. Deloitte was the largest competitor in the legal services market in 2017, with 0.81% of the market share, followed by Latham & Watkins, Baker & McKenzie, Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. The number of mergers and acquisitions of law firms has increased in the past five years. Companies in the industry seek to expand their operations in certain geographic markets, increase expertise, offer specialized services, or acquire skilled workforce.  The number of mergers and acquisitions in 2015 was 91, which also saw the largest single law firm merger, that between Dentons and Dacheng.

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