Law firms post strong growth amid turmoil

THE UK’s top 100 law firms have managed to post strong growth in the second quarter, despite an uncertain backdrop that’s likely to make conditions tough going into 2012.

Fee incomes at the biggest 100 firms rose by an average of 9.8 per cent in the three months to 31 October compared to the same period last year, more than doubling the average four per cent increase seen in the first quarter.

The figures, taken from professional services firm Deloitte’s latest legal sector survey, show that the boost to revenues was driven by an increase in average fees per fee earner, which rose by 5.7 per cent.

But results across the sector are far from consistent, with particularly strong performances by certain firms offsetting weakness elsewhere.

Allen & Overy, Ashurst and Taylor Wessing all posted a double digit rise in first-half revenues last month, while Nabarro’s earnings dropped by four per cent, and Gide’s fell 16 per cent.

“It is pleasing to see strong growth returning to the UK legal sector ... after an extended period of challenging conditions,” said Deloitte’s Jeremy Black. “Whilst firms are relatively positive about the next six months, continued uncertainty in the markets means a degree of caution is needed.”