Upbeat sentiment in the legal services sector is not confined to international giants, according to research published today. Nearly one third of small firms have outperformed their profit expectations since the pandemic, with 93% expressing confidence about their future, according to a The Good, the Bad and the New, a report by legal publisher LexisNexis Legal & Professional. 

However 70% predicted tough challenges ahead, headed by the rising cost of professional indemnity insurance premiums. Two thirds of respondents said that the PII cost was the biggest threat to their business. The report also noted a growing expectation from insurers that firms have robust legal technology embedded to minimise exposure to risk.

Another uncertainty is the return to office life. While there is no clear consensus on the future of hybrid working, many respondents expect that law firms will return to their traditional ways, LexisNexis said. The biggest reported challenge was the recruitment and retention of good talent. The survey found job satisfaction in the small legal market to be excellent, with an average satisfaction score of eight out of 10. The average score for stress was also high, at seven out of 10.

In a nod to its own business, LexisNexis reported that 'Unsurprisingly, only 5% felt that free legal information online was trustworthy.’

Chris O’Connor of LexisNexis commented: ’It has been a tough slog for law firms through the pandemic, with many depending on government grants and furlough to survive. So, it is excellent to see the strong growth trajectory in the market.’