Strong finish in 2018 for law firms

Deloitte’s quarterly review of the top 100 law firms shows a strong finish to the 2017/18 financial year translated into an overall increase of 7.7% in fee income for the year ended 30th April 2018.

Fee income increased across all size categories, with firms in the 11-25 and 26-50 size categories reporting the highest growth rates (11% and 9% respectively) and growth for the largest firms (those in the top 10) and the firms ranked 51-100 “being more modest, but still strong” at 4% and 6% respectively.

Deloitte says the strong growth in fees per fee earner of 5% has been achieved “through a roughly equal contribution from increases in chargeable hours per fee-earner and rates recovered, with the balance of the fee income growth being due to a 2.5% increase in the average number of fee earners at firms in the survey”.

Jeremy Black, Partner in Deloitte’s professional services practice, says: “While the overall performance of firms in the sector has been very strong, we are seeing huge variances in the performance of individual firms.

“There are some firms who have had one of their best years ever, while others are struggling.”

The survey also found that while firms are not expecting to achieve rates of growth quite as strong as those achieved this year, they are forecasting growth in excess of 5% for the year ahead.