Solicitors who consider themselves entreprenerial are proving much more active in changing the way they practise law, new research has suggested.
However, only 22% of those polled by LexisNexis’s Business of Law blog said they believed the introduction of ABSs was a “positive development for our industry”, with almost a third strongly disagreeing.
The second part of LexisNexis’s Brave New World bellweather report, which involved interviews with 170 solicitors who were either sole practitioners or from small firms, followed earlier findings that small firms and sole practitioners may turn out to be .
The survey found that half the lawyers saw themselves as “entrepreneurial”, with a notably greater proportion of this group experiencing growth than the rest of those surveyed, and expecting growth in the coming years.
They were also more likely to have changed various areas of their practice, with increased investment in process/technology, website development and networking the main areas they focused on.
The survey profiled the entrepreneurial lawyer as aged 48 (against 54 for those not describing themselves that way), more likely to come from a big firm, and work in an LLP or limited company, and be more niche.
Just 6% said their firms planned to merge next year, but a further 30% said they were considering it for the longer term. But with only 1% of solicitors in the survey already working for ABSs, just 11% said their practices would consider it as an option for the long-term.
Those who were working for ABSs, however, cited benefits such as being able to involve staff in the running of the business, having experts in other related areas on board, and tax planning.
While 18% said their firm took on more staff last year, similar proportions said they were planning to recruit next year or for the longer term.
Jonathan Whittle, market development director at Lexis Nexis, said the report showed the rapid change that was sweeping through the legal industry.
Mr Whittle said the changes were “driving a more competitive environment” for practitioners in all firms, which in turn was resulting in a “better service for clients”.