London’s smaller firms fall behind the regions

Partners at small law firms in London and the South East are being outperformed by those in the Eastern, East Midlands and Yorkshire and North East regions, a new Law Society survey has found.

The annual Financial Benchmarking Survey, conducted by the Law Management Section (LMS) of the Society, found that for firms with 30 partners or less had a median profit per equity partner (PEP) in London of £117,053 compared to an average median of £129,199 in the other regions examined.

The research, based on 269 responses in England and Wales, found that the East Midlands partners have the largest PEP of £133,259, followed by the Eastern region with £132,666 while Yorkshire and North East firms have a median PEP of £121,674.

The median annual fee income per fee-earner across the nation is £104,379 – an increase of 3 per cent on last year, which builds on an 8.2 per cent and 5 per cent increase in each of the previous two years, the survey found.

More than half of the respondents also said that they would eventually convert to a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP), found the research sponsored by bank HSBC in association with chartered accountants Robert Mowbray of MacIntyre Hudson.

Alison Downie, chair of the LMS, said the survey sought to identify the new trends forming within the legal profession.

Downie added: “At a time of major reform and with the opening up of the legal market place, firms need to concentrate more than ever on competitiveness and best practice.”