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Legal services industry in the UK - statistics & facts

The legal services industry in the United Kingdom is one of the largest in the world. Generating a revenue of roughly 32 billion British pounds in 2021 - which is expected to grow in the following years - the UK market is second only to the United States where most of the largest law firms worldwide have their headquarters. The importance of the UK's legal services sector as well as the popularity of its law firms was demonstrated by the fact that the country's exports of legal services was seven times higher than its imports in 2020.

A global presence

The high trade surplus in the sector is due to the fact that the UK has a strong reputation for international legal services. In 2019, for instance, over 7,000 international arbitrations, mediations and adjudications were submitted in the UK. Furthermore, the country's leading law firms have a strong presence abroad, with nearly half of their employees being located outside of the UK. For instance, DLA Piper, the leading UK law firm, is headquartered in London but it truly is a global law firm with lawyers and offices in more than 40 countries around the world. The same is true for Clifford Chance, second in the ranking of leading UK law firms.

The impact of COVID-19 on UK law firms

Law firms and legal practitioners appear to have overcome the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic unscathed, as the sector's revenue remained stable between 2019 and 2020 and has since recovered to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. What the pandemic did change, however, is how clients access legal services. In 2021, most users of legal services reported using online tools and virtual consultations to communicate with their legal practitioners and to have their services delivered. This statistic has also returned to pre-pandemic normality in 2022, with most now preferring face-to-face interaction in the legal services industry. Despite having many advantages, online tools do not seem to convince customers fully. In fact, the level of satisfaction for services delivered via email, online tools and softwares, or telephone among legal services users was lower compared to face-to-face and in-person consultations.

Interesting statistics

In the following 4 chapters, you will quickly find the 24 most important statistics relating to "Legal services industry in the UK".

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