Last year was one of strong growth for medium-sized firms, an annual bellwether survey revealed today. Firms taking part in the Law Society Law Management Section (LMS) Financial Benchmarking Survey 2017 reported fee income up by a median 5.8% in 2016, compared with 5.4% the previous year. Median net profit per equity partner was £135,979, up 8.4%.
Law Society president Robert Bourns said that the report indicates that participating firms are achieving a 10% net profit margin. 'Our Future of Legal Services report identifies the key drivers for change in the sector, together with the opportunities and potential challenges,' he said. 'Having good management helps firms financially, which will be important for them to remain sustainable in the face of increased competition.’
According to the survey, most work types have seen increases in fee income, although criminal law teams in particular have experienced a reduction for the fourth year in succession.
The survey also showed a sharp fall in year-end lock-up days, down 11 days to 149 days. Despite the trend of cuts in support staff, the number of secretaries per fee earner increased slightly.
The LMS Financial Benchmarking Survey 2017 is written and produced by the Legal Team of Hazlewoods LLP and sponsored by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking. It was based on questionnaires completed by 152 firms from across England and Wales with a combined income of £665m.