Despite the EG Awards last night things have been looking pretty bleak for the property sector [if you hadn't noticed] but you will be pleased to hear that fee income at the UK's top 100 law firms increased by 9.8% in Q2 (quarter ended 31 October 2011), compared with the same period last year, according to the latest quarterly legal sector survey from business advisory firm Deloitte.
The increase is more than double that seen in the previous quarter (4% in Q1, compared with the same period last year). The strongest growth for this quarter was experienced by the '26-50' category, with a 15.6% increase in fee income.
Higher revenues have been driven by an average increase in fee earner headcount and average fees per fee earner, which rose by 3.9% and 5.7% respectively. However, the averages hide a large degree of variability as some firms suffered a decline in revenues, whilst others saw fee income increase by more than 20%.
Whilst there has been a recent tendency for firms with larger international presence to achieve a greater degree of success than those focused on the domestic market, in Q2 many of the firms with the strongest performance were mainly UK focused. Nevertheless, whether the domestic market can continue to achieve this share of revenue in the medium to long term remains to be seen.
The legal sector is looking forward to continued growth throughout 2012, as UK law firms forecast a robust 6.2% increase in fee income for the year to April 2012 (against the year to April 2011). Therefore, despite inevitable concern for the immediate outlook in Europe, Deloitte's survey suggests the UK legal sector is currently performing well.
Jeremy Black, partner in Deloitte's professional services group, said: "It is pleasing to see strong growth returning to the UK legal sector and renewed optimism in the domestic market, after an extended period of challenging conditions. However, whilst firms are relatively positive about the next six months continued uncertainty in the markets means a degree of caution is needed."
Photo by Bob Jagendorf via Flickr.