The financial difficulties facing small law firms in the UK was revealed in the end of year profitability study by consultants Grant Thornton. The survey backs up the findings of The Lawyer/Coopers & Lybrand study earlier this year which sounded alarm bells for smaller practices.

With partners earning around £23,000 in one in four small firms, there is little room for manoeuvre in investing in practices. As firms face greater pressure to improve their services, there must be some question over the level of service some can provide. It is one thing to call for better service but another to impress upon firms which are barely surviving that they should be looking at how they can run their business better.

The Law Society must take a greater interest in what can be done – the reputation of the profession depends on each lawyer in each and every law firm. If firms can barely survive, it is time for a major rethink on the future of the profession.