Law Firms Turn to Business Developers as Partners Lose £1million Each
» Average fees per partner in UK top 10 law firms fell by £875,000 per annum over downturn
» Business development, and client relationship vacancies in legal sector rise 54% as a result
» Business development salaries rise 19% over the last year to return to pre-recession levels
Partners in the UK’s top 10 law firms each saw their average billable fees fall by nearly £1,000,000 a year over the course of the downturn according to Ambition, the global specialist recruitment firm.
In 2008, partners within these firms were billing average annual fees of £3,313,050. By the end of 2009 this figure had fallen to £2,440,050 as firms lost much of their City and banking business, and clients put pressure on firms to provide better value, efficiency and cost reductions.
In response to this fall in revenue law firms have focused on hiring business development managers, client relationship specialists and other marketing support staff in order to help boost billing levels. This focus, combined with renewed confidence in the longer term economic outlook, has driven up the number of business development vacancies. In London they have risen 54% over the last 12 months.
Support staff within the legal industry bore much of the brunt of the credit crunch as firms managed costs as revenue fell. On average, the top 10 legal firms in the UK reduced support staff headcount by over 14% between 2008 and 2009. In comparison, the number of fee earners (excluding equity partners) dropped by only 4% over the same period .
–The figures are a weighted average of the average level of fees billed per partner in the UK top 10 law firms, The Law Firms Survey 2009, PwC, pg.10 –The Law Firms Survey 2009, PwC, pg.33