Press releases

Positive results for law firms in first half of the financial year

21 December 2017

  • Top 100 UK law firms increased fee income by 7.8% in Q2 of FY17;
  • Fees per fee earner up by 6.4%;
  • Overall fees increase 7.3% in first half of FY17 compared to the same period last year.

The UK’s top 100 law firms achieved an average fee income increase of 7.8% in the quarter ended 31 October 2017, compared with the same period last year. This led to an overall fee increase of 7.3% in the first half of the financial year, according to Deloitte’s Quarterly Legal Sector Survey.

The increase was driven primarily by growth in fees per fee earner. Firms across all size categories reported only modest increases in fee earner headcount, with firms in the largest size category reporting an overall decrease.

The data suggest that firms have successfully increased their fees recovered per hour with the increased focus on job profitability starting to bear fruit. For the first half of the year firms achieved average chargeable hours per fee earner growth of 2.3% and, whilst modest, this does reverse the reduction seen in the prior year.

Jeremy Black, professional services partner at Deloitte, said: “While there is a wide range in the results, at an individual firm level the results for the sector as a whole are encouraging. Activity has been stronger than many firms expected, with transaction activity remaining robust, and firms generally being busy across the different practice areas.”

The survey also found that participants expect a relatively strong third quarter, with fee income forecast to increase by 5%.

Black added: “Figures for the last quarter were strong and these build on a solid start to the year. The level of performance has been stronger than many firms expected at the beginning of the year. While there is a high level of uncertainty, for the moment many firms are performing well.”


Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

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