Bellwether Insights 2020: Could small firms be weathering the crisis?

Bellwether Insights 2020: Could small firms be weathering the crisis?


Is the overall effect of Covid-19 as bad as feared? What impact will the crisis have on ways of working, operational models and innovation? How can the legal industry rebound?


Every year, LexisNexis conducts a flagship research study looking at independent law firms, as part of our well-known Bellwether Report Series. This year, without a doubt, our focus was clearly and squarely on the impact of the pandemic, conducting our study a month or two after the crisis first hit the UK.

As a result of this, our study, Bellwether 2020: COVID-19 and the Legal Industry, perhaps gives a slightly different view on the pandemic. Our findings show that confidence is higher than once expected – but is this more a sign of complacency, rather than positivity?


A growing confidence


Surprisingly, despite the scale of the global crisis, our research showed that many firms are reporting stable revenues. There is also an air of positivity when considering their projected plans of the next five years, with more than two-thirds of firms currently planning for growth.

However, research conducted at the start of the pandemic by the Law Society and the Bar Council, eluded to a very different sentiment in the market.

At 71%, their research showed a significantly higher number of legal practitioners being concerned that their firm would not weather the crisis at all. Does our fieldwork, therefore, reflect a more recent picture of the state of mind of small firm leaders?


Confidence or complacency?


There is clearly a lot of confidence in the market regarding small law firms’ belief in their ability to bounce back, which is hugely positive. Perhaps the government initiatives launched in support of small businesses has buoyed the legal market overall?

The majority of firms have taken advantage of the various support options, with many taking up at least one government initiative as financial support for their firm:


Firms have enthusiastically taken up government initiatives


But is their confidence mainly linked to their own firm’s ability to respond to the crisis?

When asked about the consumer and commercial market, a very different picture emerged from the survey data, with over a third responding that they felt COVID-19 was a ‘

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About the author:

Amy leads the content marketing strategy for LexisNexis UK, writing thought leadership and product content for marketing campaigns, insight reports and legal industry magazines. She is an established writer and researcher, having contributed in national publications, such as City A.M. and Financial IT. She is also one of the writers and digital editors of LexisNexis' insights blogs, the Future of Law and the In-house blog.