The Lawyer UK 200: hundreds of metrics now online

Today sees the publication of The Lawyer UK 200 Annual Report 2013, the culmination of some six months’ data collection, interviews and research into the financial health of the UK’s largest law firms.

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The headline data – including total revenue across the top 50 rising by 5.2 per cent to £15.91bn, across the top 100 by 4.7 per cent to £17.69bn and across the top 200 by 4.4 per cent to £19.045bn – suggests a market in surprisingly good health. But it is the data behind the top line growth that can really tell the story.

For the first time this year’s UK 200 has been produced as a digital interactive tool aimed at allowing firms to benchmark themselves against their peers, providing users with the ability to tailor the content however they want, producing immediate digital charts revealing just where they are versus their peers.

Today’s print edition of The Lawyer provides a taster of some of the key metrics contained in the full version while a free-to-air online version, which includes a selection of interactive data, is available to registered users of

This year’s report also includes a much greater focus on financial management aspects of the top 200 firms, with unprecedented level of detail on work in progress, debtor days and total lockup, highly detailed information that reveals how efficiently or otherwise the top firms are being managed.

More firms than ever before, a record 137 of the UK top 200, provided figures revealing their year-end work in progress (WIP) and debtor day levels. Most firms also provided data on the total lockup target they hope to achieve.

Arguably this is the data that really shines a light on how financially robust a firm is and how well it is managed. Nowhere else can attributed lockup data be found than in the UK200.

As Barclays head of professional services industry group Tom Wood points out: “More than ever before firms and their fee-earners need to be aware of the importance of focused lock-up management. Cash collections have to be a priority for everyone as lenders and regulators look more closely at the borrowing levels of firms. A simple improvement of a few debtor days can result in considerable reductions to working capital line dependency”.

This focus on efficiency is a recurring theme in this year’s UK 200 and is particularly topical, with the Solicitors Regulation Authority claiming earlier this year that as many as 160 UK firms are currently facing financial difficulties and around eight judged as being at an “immediate risk” of collapse (14 June 2013).

In addition to the top 200 firms the UK 200 also includes an analysis of the UK’s top 30 barristers chambers, the 30 largest international firms operating in the UK and individual analyses on each of the top 200 firms in this year’s table.