Independent Legal Sector Reticent to Prepare for Brexit, Bellwether Research Paper Highlights
London, 11th March 2019 – The latest Bellwether research paper titled, ‘The Luxury of Uncertainty: Inaction in the face of Brexit’ published today by LexisNexis UK, a leading global provider of information and analytics; highlights overwhelming inaction on the part of independent law firms to prepare for Brexit. This is despite a large proportion of firms believing that leaving the European Union will significantly impact their business in the future.
Less than 1 in 10 solicitors surveyed have made any contingency plans for Brexit, with a further 2 in 10 planning to in the next year or so. At the same time, 47% of solicitors are worried about the political and economic instability of Brexit and the threat it will pose to their business.
This attitude appears to stem from the fact that most of the work handled by the legal sector is UK-centric. 95% of the work handled by the solicitors surveyed originates within the UK, with only 1 in 5 having any legal involvement outside the country.
“Clearly, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit is a key factor in lawyers’ reticence to take concrete preparatory measures. It is of course understandable as there is little clarity on what the future will look like. There is frustration among lawyers about not knowing what will happen down the line, however the industry isn’t complacent – instead, it seems that the mental bandwidth of those involved is overwhelmed by the industry specific challenges – ones they have been struggling to deal with for years already and are still significant today.” Jon Whittle, Market Development Director, LexisNexis UK commented.
“While concerned about the macro economic impact of Brexit and mindful of the future repercussions on their own business, independent lawyers have taken a ‘wait and watch’ approach on the basis that their business is primarily UK-centric. Patience is indeed a virtue, but there is a business rationale for having Brexit contingency plans in place to at least limit unnecessary blows to the business in the long run. Brexit isn’t a momentary event, it will unfold through the transition period.”
72% of solicitors surveyed say that their firm actively embraces change, and over a quarter think that Brexit will be an opportunity for their firms, rather than a challenge, when it finally takes place. 91% of respondents are confident about the future while 78% believe that while there may be rough times ahead they are confident about their ability to react and adapt.
To access the report please visit www.lexisnexis.co.uk/brexit
About the research
‘The Bellwether Research Paper: The Luxury of Uncertainty: Inaction in the face of Brexit’’ was compiled using data from online surveys completed by 176 solicitors across England and Wales and supported by eight in-depth interviews with lawyers in small firms and small offices of larger firms. Respondents were from a wide geographical area and represented a broad sample of lawyers in a variety of positions in the firm and areas of expertise. The research fieldwork was conducted by an independent market research agency, Linda Jones & Associates, throughout November and December 2018.