The top 100 UK law firms will grow faster than the rest of the economy in the coming months, a major quarterly survey predicts today. 

Research by accountants Deloitte into performance during the second financial quarter of this year found fee income has risen by 8.7% compared with the same period in 2013.

Firms ranked between 51 and 100 saw the biggest increase in fee income, largely driven by consolidation.

Firms that offer most services in London benefitted from the strength of the domestic economy, while those working in other markets found the year more challenging due to their exposure to tougher economic environments.

The increases in fee income are even more impressive given that firms enjoyed a 5.7% rise in revenue last year.

Jeremy Black, partner in Deloitte’s professional practices team, said: ‘Firms have built on their strong start to the year with a robust second quarter performance.  Overall, firms expect to see relatively strong growth in the second half of the financial year, predicting growth rates which will outperform those for the UK economy.’

The figures give some explanation for the increasing confidence within the legal profession.

A survey by bank NatWest of lawyers going into the current financial year showed high levels of optimism. According to the poll of around 400 lawyers, 92% predicted profits would grow, with almost half of those estimating growth of up to 10%.