Want to open a new law firm? Do it in Leicester

Leicester is the location in England and Wales where new law firms have the best chance of surviving, with Brighton the worst, according to an analysis.

All but three of the 52 law firms that opened in Leicester in the five years to January 2023 are still open (94%), but 16 of the 34 that set up in Brighton subsequently closed their doors, a 53% survival rate.

Bath was the only city close to Leicester, on a percentage basis, with just one of 16 new firms shutting down.

It was followed by Oxford (15 of 17 still open), Bradford (36 of 41) and Derby (24 of 28). Liverpool and Nottingham were close behind.

At the other end of the table, 42% of new firms in Cardiff have closed (39 of 93), as have 39% of those in London (231 of 897).

More than 30% of new firms in Wakefield, Milton Keynes and Newcastle also closed.

The research was conducted by Northampton and Birmingham firm Witan Solicitors, which analysed Companies House data (using the classification code for solicitors) to find the number of new law firms incorporated between January 2018 and January 2023 and how many of them then went into administration or liquidation, or are now dissolved.

Director Qarrar Somji explained: “I became the director of Witan Solicitors just before the pandemic, and a 100% shareholder late last year. This is a position many young lawyers aspire to be in.

“However, I found that one factor that people tend to overlook when opening a law firm, or any business for that matter, is the location.

“While large cities like London and Manchester may seem like the ideal locations for new law firms, fierce competition and high rental prices can make it difficult to get clients and keep your business afloat.

“That is why we wanted to look into the cities with the lowest closure rates for new law firms. Hopefully, our data will make law firm owners rethink their choices.”

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