How regional law firms are giving City peers a run for their money

Growth at regional law firms is safely outpacing that of their City peers, a study released today has found.

A third (33 per cent) of regional firms grew their revenue by over 10 per cent over the last year, compared with around a quarter (27 per cent) of City firms, according to Crowe Clark Whitehill’s most recent law firm benchmarking research.

In addition, while 80 per cent of regional firms reported growth last year, the same was true of just 77 per cent of City firms.

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“It is encouraging to see that growth has been steady if not spectacular for both regional and City firms, with regional firms reporting stronger rates of growth,” said Louis Baker, head of professional practices at Crowe. “The challenge now will be to maintain this growth over the next 12 months: the results paint a picture of an increasingly competitive marketplace, with firms willing to adapt pulling ahead of firms who are less change-ready.”

Regional and City law firms also have differing views on where to best spend their money over the next year or two. While technology spend topped the list of regional firms’ priorities, with 43 per cent saying this would be their most important investment, only a third (30 per cent) of City firms said the same.

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Meanwhile, a third (30 per cent) of City firms ranked acquisitions and lateral hires as their most important investment for the next 12 to 24 months, as did 21 per cent of regional firms. These figures echo research released yesterday from Smith & Williamson, which found 43 per cent of UK law firms would be interested in a merger or acquisition within the next year.

One in five (22 per cent) City law firms believed marketing would be their most important investment over the next year, but no regional firms felt the same way.

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