Covid-19 has had a 'devastating' impact on practice areas such as property, crime, immigration and litigation and the overall legal market has shrunk by 7%, information provider Lexis Nexis has said.
The gross legal product index – a measure which tracks hundreds of metrics related to legal activity levels – shows that property work in the second quarter of 2020 was 31% lower than in 2019, while dispute resolution work dropped by 20% to 30% compared with 2019.
LexisNexis said the legal series market as a whole had declined by 7% by the end of June.
In contrast, commercial is one of the best overall performing areas of the law, while practice areas such as tax and employment have also enjoyed a period of growth.
Chris O’Connor, head of segment marketing at LexisNexis and author of the report, said 'complicated and difficult decisions lie ahead,' for the legal industry.
However, litigation funder Augusta Ventures painted a brighter picture. Drawing on figures published by the Office for National Statistics, Augusta said the UK's legal industry generated revenues of £3.5bn in October 2020, the second strongest month in history.
Month on month, October 2020 saw revenues grow by 16.2%, with the legal sector outpacing the overall services sector in October, which saw revenues fall by 2.3% month-on-month.
Louis Young, MD at Augusta said: ‘These results demonstrate what many have been saying about the strength of UK legal market participants. Despite continued uncertainties of Covid-19 and Brexit, our law firms have shown their metal over recent months. Many firms are now looking to the future and building plans for growth. We expect firms will be seeking to improve their financial positions for 2021 by considering all options, including novel forms of finance that can provide a competitive edge.’