Law firms do not see business development as a priority, according to new research from NatWest  and Huthwaite Legal.
The results come from a survey of delegates at NatWest’s 2012 legal conferences in association with business development specialists Huthwaite Legal.
Of those surveyed, just 31% said they were motivated to commit time to business development and 64% acknowledged that their investment in business development was only reasonably effective.
This is perhaps even more surprising as 56% of participants said that turnover was either static or falling.
The survey also showed that mergers and acquisitions are still on the horizon for the sector, with 62% having received or made merger/acquisition approaches in the last 12 months and 37% saying they were likely to enter into discussions in the next 24 months.
The events were run throughout September and October in Edinburgh, Bristol, Leicester, Wakefield, Manchester and London, and attracted around 550 legal professionals.
Head of professionals at NatWest, Steve Arundale, led the events with speakers Kate Fleming of Huthwaite Legal, Robert Mowbray of Taylor Mowbray LLP, Steve Billot from RSM Tenon and James Holder from Global BPO.
Aimed at the legal sector, the conferences looked at how changing markets are impacting the management of legal firms and how they could navigate their way through challenging times.
Steve Arundale said: “This is the second year we have run these events for the legal sector, providing 1,921 hours of CPD.
“The events provide expertise from some of the leading advisors in the sector and provide some food for thought for businesses as well as giving us great insight into how the legal sector views the running of their businesses.
“NatWest is dedicated to supporting the sector, which has such a great influence on the UK economy. We offer dedicated specialists and are the only bank to offer relationship managers who are independently accredited by Chartered Banker.”
Kate Fleming from Huthwaite Legal added: “The last 18 months have seen some considerable re-shaping of the business landscape for law firms.
“These events provide a perfect opportunity for law firm leaders to voice their concerns and hear the key issues impacting the sector. It is evident from the pre-conference survey results that many firms do need to rise to the challenges facing what is still a circa £29bn market.”