Laying Down Law; Legal Firms See a Rise after Fall
Byline: JEZ DAVISON
LEGAL eagles have seen a bounce-back in earnings after a big fall during the recession.
A new survey by the Law Society showed that law firms in the region were gradually returning to health again after a difficult 2009 in which customers had reined in their spending.
Legal firms in the North-east and Cumbria saw a 0.2% rise in fee income last year following a drop of 6.5% in 2009.
Average net profit per partner rose 18.6% to pounds 106,297 while profit after salary rose from 2.3% of fee income to 7.3%.
The survey also showed firms were beginning to take on staff again after putting the brakes on recruitment during the recession.
Collectively firms spent pounds 2.14m on recruiting 1,022 workers, pushing up staff costs as a proportion of total costs.
The Law Society said that although the market had shown signs of recovery, progress remained slow as firms tried to find ways of maintaining growth.
Graham Lowes, of survey sponsor Lloyds TSB Commercial in the North-east, said the findings highlighted "a steady, consolidating scenario" at a time of "unprecedented change" for the industry. That change has continued in 2011, with the Government announcing plans for a radical overhaul of employment law. …