Lawyer count passes 60,000 but profits fall at top UK firms
The latest Legal Business 100 results show the total revenue of the UK’s top 100 law firms has topped £19bn for the first time, while the number of lawyers across those firms has passed the 60,000 mark, also a first. However, this top-line growth is largely the result of another year of fervent merger activity, masking the fact that on a granular level many firms are struggling to achieve revenue and profit growth.
Total revenue for the LB100 for 2012/13 is £19.1bn, an increase of 8%, while total lawyer headcount swelled 10% to 61,299. However, average revenue per lawyer (RPL) is down 2% to £312,000, while profit per lawyer (PPL) and profits per equity partner (PEP) are down 2% and 4% to £95,000 and £622,000 respectively.
The primary cause for this year’s drop in RPL and PPL is the swathe of mergers over the past year, particularly among firms in the top 25.