Improving profitability seen as biggest challenge for law firms in 2015

JamesbattResearch covering 5,000 law firms across the UK has found that 55 per cent of respondents see improving profitability as the biggest challenge of 2015, The Lawyer reports.

In response to the question of the level of growth expected, 43 per cent of those questioned said they expected increases of between 10 and 20 per cent, but 40 per cent were more conservative, placing the increase at less than 10 per cent.

A mere five per cent of respondents said they thought 2015 would see an increase of between 20 and 30 per cent while 10 per cent did not expect any rise.

In relation to the question of the main growth drivers in 2015, 59 per cent said work from existing UK clients would lead growth followed by 42 per cent who said business development as well as offline marketing would be the central drivers of growth.

Additionally, 15 per cent of respondents said more work would come from current overseas clients, while 12 per cent also referred to social media campaigns and digital marketing.

Only 8 per cent responded that acquisitions or mergers would add to growth.

On the question of recruitment priorities, 73 per cent of those surveyed said they were most likely this year to take on new people at the solicitor level, while 40 per cent said they would be taking on paralegals.

Finally, nine per cent said they would be prioritising the hiring of legal executives.

Legal recruitment consultancy BCL Legal carried out the research which in sharp contrast to two years ago when there was greater demand for legal executives and paralegals.

The survey also asked firms whether they planned to use any interim resource this year, in response to which 86 per cent said they had no such plans.

James Batt, BCL Legal managing director (pictured), said there was “definitely a rise in confidence with several disciplines leading the way including litigation, commercial property and corporate.”

Mr Batt added: “There are - of course - the boom areas of London and the South East, but many regions are also seeing a huge upturn in both activity and overall growth predictions – especially the North West, the Midlands and Yorkshire/the North East.”

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