Mind the gap, the report on mid-sized law firms published by LexisNexis in March, reveals some interesting insights into how law firms perceive themselves. The report, based on interviews and surveys with over 150 law firms, explores how mid-sized firms feel about the health of their firm, their growth prospects and how well they are adapting to meet the changing demands of their clients and staff.
Most mid-sized law firms were positive in terms of their size, current health and future outlook. 73 per cent say that their business is growing, compared with four years ago, and 84 per cent say that their plan is to grow their firm over the next five years.
The report reveals some of the challenges that mid-sized law firms may face over the coming years. Three of the top ten challenges revolve around attracting and retaining talent. Attracting the right quality lawyers is currently the most important issue for 95 per cent firms. Staff retention was significant for 87 per cent, and 71 per cent of firms were concerned about maintaining the correct ratio of partners.
Firms appear to see their size as a competitive advantage, actively promoting themselves as ‘mid-sized’ to their clients. There is a perception that mid-sized firms are big enough to service clients’ needs, but not so big that the client care provided by smaller firms is lost. 91 per cent of firms rated ‘above average level of client servicing’ as the most important characteristic of a great law firm.
However, mid-sized firms are reporting a growing pressure from clients to work faster and produce a higher level of service, a social phenomenon that is affecting many industries. 80 per cent of firms noted that clients are now expecting answers quicker, and 61 per cent said that clients are more demanding in terms of the level of service.
Jonathan Benjamin, RedLaw Director, commented ‘As clients demand more and more in terms of service from their lawyers, this puts pressure on firms to attract and retain the right mix of talent.’