Diversity – Bridging the Gap

Scan the figures from this year’s Legal Business 100 survey and it seems that little has changed when it comes to gender diversity in the non-equity and equity partner ranks. Of the 7,376 equity partners across the UK’s 100 largest law firms by revenue, in 2010/11 just 17% of all equity partners are female. Similarly, just 23% of the 13,317 total partners are female.

This statistic has hardly altered in the last six years. In 2005, information gathered for the LB100 showed that just 15% of equity partners were women. After the numbers were crunched, it meant on average nine out of 66 equity partners were female.

But go back another 20 years, and this number is a significant improvement from the days when only 20 women made it into the equity at the ten largest City firms combined.

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Central – Stuck in the Middle

The absence of this peer group’s two leading performers, Mills & Reeve and Gateley, has seen averages for the Central region take on a distinctly ‘average’ hue. The region is now officially the worst performing peer group in the LB100 in revenue terms, a wooden spoon that it inherited last year from the South group and has secured once more in 2011.

The simple fact is that the majority of the firms that have Major UK status dominate this region of the market. Strip them away and what’s left behind are firms that are surviving on scraps.

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Global Elite – Scaling up

With an unerring consistency, the UK Global Elite has maintained its grip on the market throughout the recession and 2010/11 was no different. Some will have hoped that the global law firm may become an endangered beast, but if anything the last few years have made them stronger.

While it hasn’t been easy for the global giants, there has been a fair bit of soul searching, cost cutting and re-jigging of business plans, which has resulted in this group of six firms holding tight to a 36% market share of the entire LB100.

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Mergers – Answers on a postcard

Despite much hype over mid-market consolidation recently, the number of mergers between law firms in the UK has been modest. LB discovers why not every struggling firm is looking for a tie-up

If you were to slap an ‘at risk’ sign on any segment of firms in the LB100 then it would have to go somewhere on that diverse group of City firms that pull in between £20m and £70m in turnover. The list of threats to their businesses is growing. From pricing pressures in a crowded market to a lack of differentiation and a stagnant transactional market, there is much to think about. ‘If you’re not growing turnover now, you’re not going anywhere nice,’ one commentator suggests.


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