Insights > Why is the UK legal services sector lagging behind the US, Canada, and Australia? How can you level up?


Why is the UK legal services sector lagging behind the US, Canada, and Australia? How can you level up?

Why is the UK legal services sector lagging behind the US, Canada, and Australia? How can you level up?

The UK legal services industry is highly competitive yet still lags behind its peers in the US, Canada, and Australia. Not only are you competing with your competitors at home and abroad as more US firms want UK market share, but now there is also growth and commitment from corporations towards in-house legal services. How do you effectively position yourself as complementary to these in-house services - a valuable partner? How do you stand out in an already crowded marketplace? 

The PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) UK Legal Services Market 2022 report states that the majority (around 65%) of the c. 9,800 UK legal firms are small and mid-tier, offering a range of services for B2B and B2C. However, the larger the firm, the more focus they have on corporate services, with the top 10 UK firms having 35% of the market share. The total estimated turnover in 2021 was £32 billion across the UK legal services. This sector is one of the most vital industries in the UK, contributing to about 3% of Gross Value Added to the economy, as well as being an important exporter of services. During 2014–2020, the UK legal services sector has seen an increase of around 9%. But why are we lagging behind?

Technology and innovation in the legal sector

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) commissioned the University of Oxford to publish a report on technology and innovation in the legal sector in 2021. They found that only 37% stated that they were using technology like interactive websites, automated documents and artificial intelligence (AI) and that only 24% were planning to adopt legal technology in the future. Over one-third of those surveyed have not adopted and are not planning to adopt technology.

For those wanting to adopt new technology, 72% wanted to improve service quality, and 71% wanted to improve efficiency. Business analysts at McKinsey predict that by 2025, 23% of lawyers’ time could be automated.

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has hugely accelerated the use of technology, but firms embracing technology are not only automating and improving workflow for their legal services like contract management and document review but also building their presence and expertise in niche areas and subsequently reducing costs, increasing revenue and improving client experience. The SRA’s 2021 report summarises that the COVID-19 pandemic has specifically impacted 55% of surveyed law firms that have improved or increased their use of technology, 48% made changes to their service delivery, and 35% are introducing new technology. 

Where does that leave your law firm?

The SRA 2021 report recognises that money, a lack of financial capital, and, crucially, in-house resourcing and skillsets are the main obstacles for UK law firms to adopt improved technological approaches and advancements. 

Enhancing customer service and innovation within UK law firms need to improve to progress the UK in the global landscape and future-proof our legal services industry.

Time to level up

Why, with such a shift towards using technology for legal services, are there still only 87% of UK legal firms with websites? Something that you'd think would be a given nowadays. And of those, how many have a website that actually generates new client enquiries and doesn’t put someone off through slowness to load, poor information, and hard-to-find contact details? One distinct way to adopt technology is to level up your online presence - starting with your 24/7 shop window - your website. 

You have just 0.05 seconds (that’s 50 milliseconds, to put it bluntly) to make an impression and for someone to make up their mind about your law firm through your website.

How many potential clients do you think you lose each and every day? How much money are you losing? How does your website stack up compared to your competitors? 

Your visitors want easy-to-navigate, well-branded websites with helpful content - 47% of visitors expect your website to load in two seconds. Does yours? By specialising with small to medium law firms that want to grow their presence, we have a unique understanding of how to help you level up and compete with larger firms. We build design-rich, super-fast JamStack websites integrated with the leading content marketing platform for professional services, Passel. JamStack websites easily integrate with third-party services, meaning that you can add, update, and change features without having to rebuild the back end. This is why Amazon, Nike, Tesla, Louis Vuitton, and Peloton are just some of the big international brands that have moved to JamStack. Create a unique user experience and stand out from the crowd. 

By offering small and mid-sized law firms the best-in-class digital technologies, you can demonstrate to both clients and talent why you should be their first choice.

Talk with us. We offer a free "digital discovery session" where we evaluate your current digital footprint, identify your needs, and give you expert advice on how to improve your online presence.  |