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UK Business Law Market

UK Business Law Market

UK Business Law Market – IRN Legal Market Briefing
The UK Business Law Market Briefing is the first edition of an annual IRN Legal Market Briefing from IRN Research and provides an overview of the UK business law market. In addition, to looking at the market as a whole, it looks specifically at: Corporate, financial and company law; Employment law; International Litigation and Dispute Resolution; Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks; and Commercial Property.

The business legal services market is a large market and constitutes the largest share of the UK Legal Services sector. Despite its size, this market is experiencing fundamental changes in terms of competition, operations and future development. Brexit is just one of the key issues impacting on the market but it is the factor causing the greatest uncertainty regarding the future path of demand.

Key findings
Total turnover of business legal services providers reached £24.7 billion in 2015. While turnover grew rapidly in 2015, growth slowed in 2016. The two main segments of the UK business legal market for solicitors and barristers are corporate/ commercial law and dispute resolution/litigation.
There is a growing competitive threat to traditional business legal services providers from client’s own in-house legal teams, with competition from in-house legal departments increasing particularly sharply in the SME segment of the market over the past year.

The market has been and is being reshaped by:
Increased pressure to offer more fixed-price work
Increased pressure to make prices more transparent
The growth in third-party funding
The increasing use of digital technology in the courts and within legal practices
Moves to limit the number of cases going to court
The development ABS practices from companies outside of the legal market especially by accountancy firms.
In the future, business legal practices will have to become nimbler and more flexible, with cost control a greater priority as fees come under pressure. There are also likely to be more mergers and acquisitions between legal firms.

Overview of Business Law
A lop-sided market, with turnover of over £14 billion and a market worth around £11 billion
General corporate/commercial work the bedrock of the market
A market facing significant change and uncertainty
And an uncertain future
The organisation of business justice
A market in three layers
The Key Players
Considerable overlap between practice areas
A market where price transparency is missing
Which could open the market to unregulated legal providers…
And open the market to online matching services…
And make it easier for other new market entrants
CMA findings build on existing pressure for fixed fees
Third party funding rising in popularity
The Financial List makes its first ever judgement
Efforts to reduce the number of full trials in the commercial courts
Greater use of technology in commercial cases
With technology set to be the third leg in the legal stool
Turnover of over £14 billion and a market worth around £11 billion.
A growing market but one that is increasingly competitive
Corporate/commercial law and litigation the main sectors
In terms of client, legal services sell mainly to businesses
Small businesses are the main volume users…
Large companies spend the big bucks
Law firms will have to become more flexible and nimble.
Controlling costs will be a top priority
More mergers
Some areas of the market will struggle
Global economic events drive the top end of this market
Global M & A fall in 2016…
But domestic acquisitions rise strongly
Company starts are growing while deaths are declining
Growth in work for tax lawyers
The number of commercial Chancery Division claims falls in 2015
Commercial Court claims down by 20%
More shipping and Maritime cases in the Admiralty Court
Number of technology and construction cases falls
A market influenced by legal changes
More niche work
Large rise in employment jurisdictional complaints in 2015
Earnings disputes the main driver of tribunal work
London, an international hub for litigation and mediation
But overseas competition is strong
It’s a low volume very high value area of the law
The UK mediation market handles over £10 billion of claims
It’s a vital area of the law
Legal cases related to patents, trademarks and designs

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