During November 2013 to January 2014, senior representatives from 900 private practice firms were interviewed by telephone about the work and practices of their firm. Data was weighted by size of firm (using partner count) and region to ensure findings were representative of the population on these two measures.
- In 2013 around half of firms reported experiencing problems with costs, financing, compliance with regulations relating to legal services provision, legal aid changes or competition for business, over the preceding twelve months.
- Firms were most likely to report that regulatory compliance had been either a 'fairly' or 'very significant' problem and almost one-fifth of firms reported that recent changes in legal aid had been a 'very significant problem'. Small and medium-sized firms, in particular, found these two issues problematic.
- Competition for business was the most frequently cited problem for large firms, followed by the cost and availability of suitable premises and the cost of employing solicitors.
- Competition for business in 2013 was most likely to come from volume providers and non-solicitor organisations. Large firms reported facing competition from regional and national firms.
- Changes to the legal aid system had a significant impact on firms in Wales, with around half (46 per cent) indicating changes had been either a 'fairly' or 'very significant problem', compared to 24 per cent of all law firms.