Nine ways the government can unleash growth through the legal sector

We’ve shared nine changes the UK government can make in its autumn statement so that UK legal businesses can continue driving innovation and economic growth.
View of Westminster Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben across the Thames on a bright autumn day, with orange leaves and tree in the foreground

From the high street legal practice to the global law firm, legal services are an economic powerhouse, worth £60 billion annually to the UK economy.

The government has put forward ambitious missions to halve inflation and grow the economy. Legal services are integral to achieving these missions and our sector stands ready to play its part.

The legal services powerhouse

As employers, law firms can be found in every region, city and town across England and Wales. Growing legal hubs can be found from Bristol to Newcastle, spreading the benefits of the sector throughout the UK.

The sector is uniquely productive, with an average annual contribution per employee of £100,500 – almost double the national average.

Beyond our own borders, legal services are one of the UK’s most valuable exports. The UK legal services sector generated a trade surplus of £5.9 billion in 2019, helping to lower the UK’s overall trade deficit.

However, our sector faces challenges too. The Law Society recently commissioned research which highlighted the barriers small and medium legal businesses (SMEs) are facing including:

  • recruitment and retention
  • operational and financial costs
  • technology

A strong legal services sector underpins a strong economy across the board.

Legal services do not operate in a vacuum and their success is built upon the wider justice system. The decline of legal aid and the serious backlogs impacting the courts reverberate across the sector and will seriously damage the UK’s reputation as a global legal centre.

By investing in both our courts and legal aid, the government will show it supports the UK’s position as the global legal centre of choice and send a signal to our global competitors.

Ahead of the autumn statement, we’ve shared nine recommendations with the government to unleash the economic power of legal services.

Our calls to support members’ businesses

It must be a priority for every government to support this great British success story.

We’re calling on the government to:

This package of reforms is designed to build on the existing economic strengths of our profession while unleashing the latent productivity and economic potential of the sizeable SME segment of the legal services sector, all at minimal cost to the government.

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