Law firms could be missing a trick by referring enquiries that fall outside their specialisms to rivals, according to the latest bellwether. 

According to LexisNexis's The Race to Evolve report, published today, 65% of enquiries that firms regularly receive fall outside of their main practice areas. However, 95% of lawyers refer such enquiries to other firms. 

The report questions whether firms are missing a trick. 'Since almost two-thirds of firms are actively pursuing initiatives to generate new business, why not start with the business that comes directly to your door,' it adds.

A fifth of respondents said their firm was 'not particularly' involved in generating new business; 4% said there was 'no need'.

Although nearly all of the respondents' firms use legal tools and technology for day-to-day tasks, 17% considered active use of technology the most important way to drive efficiency.

According to a 2016 bellwether, 92% of lawyers asserted that continued investment in technology was no longer optional. A year later, over half (58%) of firms are spending less than 5% of their turnover on legal tools.

However, an active use of legal processes, tools and technologies was identified as one of four key drivers to improving efficiency. The other drivers were sticking to one's practice areas, allocating tasks in line with the lawyer's experience, and having good administration for non-legal tasks.

A quarter of respondents believed the seniority of the lawyer working on the matter was the top consideration for pricing. The level of service provided to the client was the top factor for 18% of respondents.

Six in 10 respondents said fee-earners are allocated a file from the beginning until the end. Nearly half said different levels of legally qualified staff work across a matter. Four in 10 said administration staff are used for non-legal elements.