Just over half of the UK 200 Independents think trading conditions will be tougher in 2018/19 compared to last year, exclusive data from The Lawyer has shown.

Brexit is still a significant concern for the UK’s regional and national law firms, ranked 101 to 200 in The Lawyer’s annual chart.

In an attitudinal survey, just over half thought trading conditions would be tougher while 31 per cent of respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the statement. Just 12 per cent of firms believe trading conditions will be better.

More firms, however, gave a neutral forecast for the current year than last year, and the proportion offering a negative forecast dropped. Brexit and economic uncertainty were cited as the main reasons for firms thinking trading would be tougher this year than last.

“Across the range of clients we are not especially exposed to the impact of Brexit, though undoubtedly uncertainty in the business community impacts on everyone’s view of short term risk and the timing of investments and divestments,” one firm said.

“Clients will continue to look for more by way of service and value relative to the price they are prepared to pay.”

Brexit, IT infrastructure issues, cybersecurity, and departing talent were cited as the factors that would have the most significant impact on the financial position of the Independents in the next 12 months. A large number of Independents are investing heavily in IT and are confident this will help boost revenue.

Turnover across the 100 Independents rose by an average of 7.8 per cent last year, with growth accelerating compared to previous years.

The latest edition of The Lawyer’s UK 200: The Independents report is the only analysis of the second hundred largest firms ranked by revenue in the UK market. The report is now available to order.