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Top-100 UK law firms’ fee income up by 17 per cent in 2011/12

Over half of revenue generated by international law firms based in London 

22 March 2013

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By Manju Manglani, Editor (@ManjuManglani)

The fee income of the UK’s top-100 law firms increased by 17 per cent in the 2011/12 financial year, according to independent research.

Firms at the top end of this group appear to have taken the lion’s share of this growth, with over half of the revenue of the top-100 firms generated by international law firms based in London.

By comparison, gross fees generated by all law firms in the UK increased by just five per cent in the same period.

The findings are based on research by TheCityUK, which promotes UK financial and related professional services.

It found that the value of the legal services sector to the UK economy doubled in the past decade from £10.6bn in 2001 to £20.9bn (1.6 per cent of GDP) in 2011.

The sector also made a positive contribution to the UK's balance of payments with a trade surplus of £3.3bn in 2011, up nearly three times from a decade earlier.

In addition, the research found that the legal sector in the UK accounts for around seven per cent of the global market for legal services, making it the largest market in Europe.

However, the report also predicts a slight slowdown in fee revenue growth in the 2012/2013 financial year.

Chris Cummings, chief executive of TheCityUK, said: "While it’s not been immune to the challenging conditions affecting the economy, the legal services market is proving remarkably resilient. The sector made a significant direct contribution to the UK economy over the last decade.

“And, most importantly, the legal services industry is creating value across the regions, with two-thirds of employees outside London. Our research shows that Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Belfast, Birmingham, Liverpool and Glasgow have joined London to form the top eight centres of legal excellence in the UK.”

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