Just one in ten law firms is being significantly impacted by Brexit, with recruitment and retention by far the most important management challenge for practice owners.

That is a key finding of the bi-annual survey of the sector by management consultants Law Consultancy Network, conducted in association with the Gazette.

Brexit and political certainty were the top-cited concerns in last summer’s survey, but they have receded in importance in this Winter’s poll. Some 55% of firms say they are totally unaffected by Brexit and 35% are slightly affected.

Recruitment and retention was cited as a concern by over half of firms. Growing the business, cash flow, managing lock-up, improving profitability and the looming General Data Protection Regulation also came high on the boardroom agenda.

Encouragingly, four out of five firms had seen property volumes maintained or improved in the second half of 2017.

On the merger front, over half of firms thought a tieup with another firm was possible or likely, though very few had actually merged in the previous six months. The number of merger approaches matched the first half.

The average number of partners or members who responded to the survey was 12. Firms participating provide a broad range of services, including legal aid, private client and commercial. Most are based outside London and the south-east.