Survey shows global concerns are growing

Around 96 per cent of firms with 50 or more partners now offer international services, according to a survey by professional and financial services group Smith & Williamson.

The survey also found that seven out of 10 participating law firms believe the influence of US law firms is still growing.

For smaller firms in the UK, the survey painted a picture of consolidation. Of the respondents, almost one in five firms with between 11 and 50 partners said that they were actively seeking a merger at the moment.

Of medium-sized and larger firms, 78 per cent said that they had been approached by another firm with a merger proposal in the past two years.

Other findings suggest that 66 per cent of law firms are considering how to limit partner liability, while around 91 per cent of that group see becoming an LLP likely or possible.

Despite concerns about partner liability and high professional indemnity insurance costs, the survey found that 36 per cent of firms, including the largest, do little to manage risk. Smith & Williamson professional practices specialist Colin Ives said: “Insurers increasingly take into consideration the procedures firms use to manage risk. We therefore expect more practices to introduce risk review procedures.”

The survey was based on a sample of 73 firms.