LexisNexis Legal & Professional, a leading global provider of legal information and analytics, has released an updated version of its Gross Legal Product (GLP) Index.
The report reveals that, despite rising inflation, soaring energy prices, new regulations and financial sanctions, not to mention an economic recession, the legal sector grew by 3% in 2022, with restructuring and insolvency, tax and competition law all making a heavy contribution.
The index, which pulls together historic data across 12 areas of the law to forecast future demand, predicts the legal sector as a whole will grow by a further 6% throughout 2023. These findings align with the latest Office for National Statistics data, which found the legal sector made £4bn in revenues between November to December 2022, an increase of 6%.
According to the GLP Index, the fastest growing practice area in 2023 will be competition law, where post-Brexit legislation is becoming more actionable and the Competition Markets Authority (CMA) is taking a stronger role on merger controls. Risk and compliance is also in growth mode, with cybersecurity, data regulations and financial sanctions increasing in their threat levels to organisations.
Rapidly rebounding areas of the law include property and immigration. The latter has seen work, student and family visas and citizenship applications rise significantly in the last 18 months, generating a healthy amount of work for immigration lawyers. Practice areas that are challenged include criminal law and private client law, both of which have experienced negative growth for the second year running.
The report’s editor, Dylan Brown, says: “Law firms have proven their resilience to achieve growth during economically challenging times once again. Unlike their professional services peers, the legal sector has been relatively slow when it comes to technology adoption and innovation, yet law firms excel when it comes to driving a profit.”
“Many law firms increased their billable hour targets for lawyers last year, and a growing number are offering alternative fee arrangements to appeal to cost-conscious clients. While business is by no means booming, law firms will likely continue to experience similar growth levels seen before the pandemic hit.”