Eversheds Sutherland co-chief executive officer Lee Ranson talks to The Lawyer ahead of this year’s Business Leadership Summit in association with Propero Partners, which focuses on the law firm of 2025.

Will market consolidation see the rise of a “Big 4” equivalent of law firms by 2025?

Lee Ranson Eversheds Sutherland
Lee Ranson

Whilst there is no doubt that there has been significant consolidation within the legal industry in the last 10 years or so, I don’t think it has happened with the speed and impact that many commentators predicted. Will there be more consolidation as the battle for market share intensifies?  Certainly. But will we be looking at an industry dominated by a ‘Big 4’ equivalent in the future? I doubt it, and certainly not by 2025.

The legal industry is hugely fragmented by comparison to that of accountancy, with few firms having more than a small percentage of overall market share. There also remain significant regulatory barriers in many key geographies. Notwithstanding these challenges, I believe the general direction of travel is now set and I feel certain that we will continue to read more and more news of legal industry consolidation over the coming years.

What technology do you anticipate will revolutionise the industry by 2025?

The sheer pace and scale of new developments makes legal industry future-gazing a good sport, but probably not a safe one to bet on since 2025 is almost light years away in tech terms. It seems unlikely that it will be one, single technology which will lead the revolution that is already underway. Probably it will be a blend of many technologies, some of which are already living and breathing, others which are nascent and many more just an idle ‘what if?’ kind of wondering in our collective minds. I think to really have an impact the test of any “revolutionary technology” must be does it make things better for the client and can they see/feel the difference?

How best can business services teams design and implement growth strategies?

If we want our business services teams to drive growth then we need to make this part of their mandate and, as an industry, we have been disappointingly slow to do so. Recognising and unlocking the potential of our business services teams to drive revenue is a largely untapped resource, and one which can produce transformative results.

Growth should be part of all of our agendas, not just management, partners or front line teams such as business development. An important starting point is to give the experts in these teams a true voice and meaningful stake in the success of the business. Easy words, however, firms which get this right and achieve this kind of cultural step-change, will steal a march on the competition.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself (in any order).

  • I was born in Skegness.
  • It took me five tries to pass my driving test.
  • I was a policeman before becoming a lawyer.

With agile working becoming the norm, which spot in the world would you most like to work from?


Lee will be speaking at this year’s Business Leadership Summit on a panel discussion exploring what a first class change team looks like. For more information on the summit, a copy of the agenda, or to enquire about tickets to attend, please contact Kenan Balli on +44(0) 20 7970 4017 or kenan.balli@centaurmedia.com