Large firms are losing talent to smaller competitors, according to the latest legal sector bellwether.

Two-thirds of the solicitors LexisNexis spoke to for Is The Future Small? previously worked in medium, large or top-tier firms, compared with 53% in 2016. Nearly half would consider working for a small or solo outfit in their next role. Fewer than two in 10 want to work for a large firm.

The main attraction of downsizing was the ability to remain in control. Other advantages include a better client experience and less bureaucracy.

However, there are also challenges. Eight in 10 respondents worry that a lack of capacity could force them to turn good work away. Three in four feel the small size of their firm could be interpreted by some clients as lacking credibility. Growing the business was considered a problem for nine in 10 respondents. 

The report concludes that being small ‘means the firm is more agile and better able to respond to changing client conditions and client demands’, despite the challenges identified.