UK: Top 100 law firms see 5 per cent increase in income

The UK’s top 100 law firms have seen a 5.4 per cent increase in fee income over the past year. Figures released yesterday, according to a survey by Deloitte, revealed a generally positive outlook on the financial position of the legal profession.

The top ten largest law firms saw an even larger revenue increase of around six per cent.

Second tier law firms, those directly below the top 10, reportedly saw a much lower growth in fee income, just under two per cent.

The top 100 firms have seen a 2.6 per cent rise in fee-earner headcounts, which has been attributed to the overall growth.

Average fees per fee-earner achieved by firms in the survey were around £257,000, a rise of 2.7 per cent compared to the previous year.

The stark contrast between fee-earners for the top ten firms and the bottom half of the top 100 is shown in the survey. The average income for a fee-earner at the top ten was £391,000 compared to a lesser £204,000 found in the bottom half of the survey.

“The fact that the average fees per fee-earner in the 26-50 size category was higher than that achieved in the 11-25 size category is a clear sign of the changing dynamics within the sector,” said Jeremy Black, a Deloitte partner.

He added: “Over the last couple of years, merger activity in the sector and large differences in the growth rates achieved by firms, along with changes in business models and technology, have had a significant impact on what has historically been a relatively stable sector.”