City law firms will be ‘key’ to driving UK’s economic growth
The City’s top law firms will play an “integral” part in securing the country’s long-term growth, one of the the City’s most powerful lobby group has said.
Britain’s law firms already play an integral role in ensuring London’s position as a “world leading financial centre” in acting as a “critical platform on which other economic activity rests,” TheCityUK said.
The legal sector is also a key driver of UK economic growth itself, in employing 375,000 people and contributing £30.7bn to the British economy.
However, the UK’s legal sector will play a vital part in boosting Britain’s economy as it seeks to navigate the various challenges posed by Brexit, Covid-19, and the war in Ukraine, the City lobby group said.
Over the past year alone, a boom in demand for legal services on the back of Covid-19 saw UK law firms’ revenues increase 12.5 per cent to £41.4bn.
This growth was however mainly driven by the UK’s top 100 law firms, which together generated £31bn worth of revenues in the financial year 2021/22, up nine per cent compared to last year, the report says.
The top 25 law firms alone generated £25.4bn of those revenues in 2021/22, a figure nine per cent higher than the previous year.
This growth secured the UK’s position as the largest legal market in Europe and the second largest legal hub in the world, after the United States.
Britain’s leading position comes as a result of the widespread popularity of English common law in resolving international commercial disputes, the City UK report says.
This position saw the UK account for a third of Western Europe’s legal sector fee revenues and more than five per cent of fee revenues worldwide.
Britain’s status as a global legal hub has also seen more than 200 international law firms set up offices in London, including all 40 of the world’s top 40 firms.
Five of the world’s 20 largest law firms are currently headquartered in Britain, including four of the UK’s five elite “Magic Circle” firms.
Inside the UK, the sector employs thousands of people across the country, including around 100,000 in London, 13,000 in Manchester, 10,000 in Leeds, 9,000 in Birmingham, and 8,000 in Bristol and Glasgow each.