Legal sector sees revenue rise

THE UK’S top law firms have kick-started the financial year on an upward swing after collective first quarter revenues rose.

Deloitte’s quarterly survey of the legal sector for the period ending 31 July showed that revenue across the top 100 law firms in the UK was up five per cent on the same time last year.

And the number of hours billed by fee earners across the top 100 also rose by 4.4 per cent indicating that the sector was seeing some kind of recovery.

The top 10 law firms in the country fared the worst after reporting a modest 3.4 per cent rise in revenue during the first quarter.

And lawyers at the UK’s largest firms only billed 4.6 per cent more hours than last year.

However, firms that fall between the 11 to 25 band reported the highest growth in fee income to 5.4 per cent for the period. Lawyers at these firms billed 6.5 per cent more hours compared to 2009.

Deloitte partner Jeremy Black, who compiled the data, said the results for the first quarter were a sign of improving fortunes. He said: “The growth has surprised a few, as people tend to forget the hard times pretty quickly. However, there are still a lot of nerves out there. The recovery is difficult to predict.”

He added: “The general uncertainty over the economy means that for many firms there is a considerable degree of nervousness as to how the rest of the year will pan out.”