The Future is Bright for Smaller Law Firms, Latest Bellwether Research Reveals

Solicitors leaving larger practices to work in smaller firms has increased from 53% in 2016 to 64% in 2019

London, U.K., 08 July, 2019 – The latest Bellwether report titled, ‘Is the Future Small?’, published today by LexisNexis UK, a leading global provider of information and analytics; highlights that not only is the small law firm sector thriving, the future also looks bright for this segment. Solicitors leaving larger practices to work in smaller firms has increased from 53% in 2016 to 64% in 2019.

Size of a firm is an important consideration for solicitors as it dictates everything from hiring practices and workloads to workplace culture and profitability. At 44%, the majority of solicitors surveyed would consider working for a small or solo outfit (firms with less than 20 fee earners) in their next role. Medium-sized firms were also in consideration, with 42% of those surveyed expressing interest. Less than 2 in 10 want to work for a large firm.

9 out of 10 solicitors considered the benefits of working in a small firm to be generally ‘advantageous’, citing the ability to remain in control (82%), a better client experience (79%), and swift decision making (76%) as the major benefits, among others.

At the same time, solicitors recognise that there are challenges and downsides to being small. 3 in 4 solicitors feel that their small firm size could be perceived by some clients as lacking in credibility. 82% of solicitors in small firms worry that a lack of capacity could force them to turn good work away. A quarter of solicitors believe that building a pipeline of future business is difficult and hence a major issue. Other issues cited include it’s hard to succession plan as clients are ‘buying’ them personally (51%); and increasing compliance regulations (51%).

Jon Whittle, Market Development Director, LexisNexis UK said: “The future is certainly bright for small firms and an overwhelming number of solicitors working in these organisations believe that small law is better – from both personal and professional standpoints. While small law firms believe the benefits of their size outweigh the challenges, these organisations aren’t dismissive of the challenges they face, which is a good thing. Their combination of realism, confidence and optimism will likely help them to continue to thrive.”

To access the report please visit


Notes to editors

About the research
The Bellwether Report ‘Is the Future Small?’ was compiled using data from eight in-depth interviews with lawyers in small firms and small offices of larger firms, as well as online surveys completed by 176 solicitors across England and Wales. and supported by eight in-depth interviews with lawyers in small firms and small offices of larger firms. Respondents were from a wide geographical area and represented a broad sample of lawyers in a variety of positions in the firm and areas of expertise. The research fieldwork was conducted by an independent market research agency, Linda Jones & Associates, throughout November and December 2018.

About LexisNexis Legal & Professional
LexisNexis Legal & Professional is a leading global provider of legal, regulatory and business information and analytics that help customers increase productivity, improve decision-making and outcomes, and advance the rule of law around the world. As a digital pioneer, the company was the first to bring legal and business information online with its Lexis® and Nexis® services. LexisNexis Legal & Professional, which serves customers in more than 130 countries with 10,000 employees worldwide, is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.

Media Contact:
Vidushi Patel
Tagus PR
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Published at Mon, 08 Jul 2019 10:58:00 +0000