UK firms predict revenue to take off in 2006

UK law firms are the most confident about the year to come compared with US, Australian and New Zealand firms, according to a new worldwide survey.

The Law Firm Optimism Index 2006, carried out by Nisus Consulting and Team Factors, revealed that UK firms had the brightest outlook for business, with a rating of 8.1 out of a possible 10, while US firms followed with 7.2.

Australian and New Zealand firms trailed, with optimism ratings of 5.5 and 4.9 respectively.

Of the 116 firms surveyed, US firms were the most buoyant about their country’s economy, with the vast majority anticipating conditions to improve for the nation, with knock-on effects for law firms.

Economic predictions aside, more than 75 per cent of all respondents expected profits to continue to rise, with 100 per cent of UK respondents and 87 per cent of US firms anticipating revenue growth.

Likewise, more than 80 per cent of those surveyed anticipated increasing charge-out rates this year, with three-quarters of Americans forecasting hikes of more than 5 per cent. New Zealand firms were the least confident.

While most firms insisted that client relationships were a priority, 75 per cent of respondents admitted to having only met with half or less of their top-billing clients to review satisfaction and performance. Of the UK firms, just 30 per cent visited 16 or more of their top 20-billing clients. But US firms were dragging their feet even further behind, with 6 per cent having met with most of their top clients.

Overall, law firms said they were more likely to hire lawyers than add offices in new locations.