Most private clients would rather go to a traditional local law firm rather than a national brand, according to a major annual market snapshot published today.
The UK Legal Services Market Report 2015 from marketing consultancy IRN Research shows that the UK legal services market was worth £29.3bn in 2013 – with annual growth the highest for many years.
The study predicts revenue growth of 5%-6% a year for 2015 and 2016. However some 500 firms exited the market in 2013 and 2014.
Legal work for business and commercial affairs remains by far the largest segment in the UK market, amounting to 34% of all revenue. The second largest segment, personal injury and medical negligence work, accounts for only 11%, as does the commercial property sector.
A consumer survey of 500 adults carried out for the report in December 2014 shows that only one-third of respondents would be willing to try national brands supplying legal services. However, there was more enthusiasm for going online, with 40% saying they would be attracted by the convenience and low cost of web legal services.
The report finds that some segments of the market are starting to polarise, led by conveyancing and personal injury. Larger firms are making more use of mass media and internet marketing techniques.
However it states: ‘The large UK law firms will not be immune from increased competitive pressures, particularly from the growing number of overseas law firms, especially US firms, moving into London and the expansion plans of the big accountancy firms in the UK legal market.’