Most of the UK’s biggest law firms, with annual turnovers of more than £500m, are now actively hiring more lawyers, as they seek to capitalise on booming demand for legal services, according to a poll of more than 200 law firm partners.
Polling from privately-owned litigation funder Harbour shows that 60 per cent of law firms, with revenues of more than £500m a year, are actively hiring legal talent, while almost half (48 per cent) of law firms with annual turnovers of more than £5m are doing the same.
At the same time, 86 per cent of law firms said they are feeling pressure from clients to lower their fees and offer better deals, the poll of 203 law firm partners shows.
The polling figures come after data from the UK government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the legal sector posted its biggest turnovers ever last year, on the back of booming demand for legal services linked to the economic impacts of Covid-19.
The 13 per cent rise in the legal sector’s turnovers has sparked fierce competition between law firms to recruit and retain talent.
The battle for legal talent has seen firms offer increasingly outrageous salaries, and seen young lawyers work increasingly long, and unsociable, hours.
The poll from Harbour shows that 45 per cent of law firm partners felt that retaining existing staff was the biggest challenge they faced.
Ellora MacPherson, Chief Investment Officer at Harbour said: “This survey shows that firms are grappling with the expensive business of how to attract talent and grow in a competitive post-pandemic market.”