UK law firms earn £ 29bn as legal services retain global appeal


London is considered the world’s preferred arbitration center, according to TheCityUK. Photo: Getty Images

The legal services sector contributed £ 29.6bn ($ 39bn) to the UK in 2019 and posted a trade surplus of £ 5.6bn in 2020, new data has revealed.

The UK is the largest legal services market in Europe, valued at £ 36.8 billion in 2019, and second only to the US in the world, TheCityUK said.

The nation’s position in legal services is aided by the “international prestige” of English common law, which forms the basis of the legal systems of some 27% of the world’s 320 jurisdictions, according to the report.

He added that the UK’s reputation as a leading center for international dispute resolution is a powerful factor in making business parties opt for their contracts to be governed by English law.

And London is considered the world’s preferred arbitration center – the number of civil disputes resolved through arbitration, mediation and arbitration in the UK topped 43,000 in 2020.

“Amid the challenges of COVID-19, the UK-based legal services industry has demonstrated great resilience while continuing to play a key role in helping businesses in the UK and globally to overcome the crisis, acting as a trusted partner. advisors and help companies reorganize their businesses accordingly, ”said Miles Celic, CEO of TheCityUK.

“The sector remains an asset in the UK’s broader competitive offering as a global hub for financial and related professional services. ”

Read more: The United States becomes the number one destination for UK financial services exports

The report found that total revenue from legal activities in the UK was £ 36.8bn in 2019 and £ 17.8bn in the first half of 2020.

The report also states that the last decade has seen a significant shift in the number of lawyers working in-house – almost a quarter (24%) of all lawyers in England and Wales, totaling over 31,000 people. , worked in the internal sector in 2020, up from 16% ten years earlier.

“The continued trend of businesses to deepen their in-house legal capacity demonstrates how vital legal expertise is to the success of globally competitive businesses,” said Celic.

The UK’s top 100 law firms also continued to increase their total workforce, with annual growth of 3% and total employment exceeding 77,000.

The UK legal services industry employed around 365,000 people in 2020, a large portion of them in areas outside London.

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