The Law Society’s financial benchmarking survey, which is completely confidential, helps firms of all sizes, from sole practitioner and high street firms to large scale commercial firms, assess their financial performance and also provides insight into the financial health of Scotland's legal sector as a whole.
The 2018 survey findings showed that profits per partner (before outlays) for all respondent firms increased to £76,000, up from £69,000 in the 2017 survey. Larger participating firms with 10+ partners, showed a significant rise in the median profit per partner to £172,000, a 38% increase on last year’s findings.
The results for the other sizes of firms were relatively static at £79,000 for 2-4 partner firms, down from £82,000 in the 2017 report, and £94,000 for 5-9 partner firms, which showed a small drop from £96,000 the previous year. The findings for sole principal firms taking part in the survey, which had a median profit per partner of £48,000, down from £50,000 in the previous year, suggest that they are continuing to operate at the margins of commercial viability.
86 firms completed the 2018 questionnaire, representing 8% of firms in Scotland. To read the full report or to access your firm’s free, confidential, interactive report: Financial Benchmarking Survey 2018. You will require a log in to access your individual report. Login details are the same as those used to complete the survey questionnaire. To reset your password please click ‘Forgot your password’.
All of this year’s survey respondents receive a confidential, interactive online report for their firm as well as access to the general report on the financial health of Scotland’s law firms which is published on the Society website.
Participating firms can view and compare:
- income and costs by the size or location of a firm
- a breakdown of the firm’s total costs
- cashflow management
- the relationships between the different results for their firm, e.g. plotting your staff costs against profitability
Each year the Society commissions research on the cost of running a solicitor's practice. The survey is a good indicator of the general financial health of the profession on an annual basis. It is also a benchmarking exercise which helps solicitors set realistic fees and measure their own performance. Historically the report was valued by the Lord President's Advisory Committee in relation to the Tables of Solicitors' Fees in the Courts.
As the Society withdrew the table of fees in 2005, no recommended fees follow the survey although the historical information it provides about the cost of running the average practice remains highly relevant.