Marc Lowry, Head of Regional Business Development UK and Ireland for Smith & Williamson presents the findings of Smith & Williamson’s Irish law Firm Survey.

“55% of all respondents are more concerned about the impact of Brexit than 12 months ago” 

The majority of firms are looking forward to a stronger year ahead but, scratch the surface and there are cracks, with pressures created by Brexit and falling margins; there are concerns that some firms may lack the resources to fend off these threats successfully.

The annual Smith & Williamson Irish Law Firm survey interviews 100+ managing or senior partners at law firms with the aim of taking the pulse of the legal sector and we aim to help the legal sector identify key pressure points and act to remedy them.

While growth in revenue and profitability have been strong, margins are being squeezed through increased overheads primarily driven by office space costs and wage increases. Brexit, however, is also generating increased competition. As uncertainty continues, UK firms continue to seek a foothold in Ireland to insulate themselves against the fallout from the UK’s departure from the EU. They have deep pockets and want to hire local talent.

For this reason – and the impact on their client base – our survey found that 55% of all respondents are more concerned about the impact of Brexit than 12 months ago. However, there is a notable gap between larger firms, who are nervous about Brexit, and smaller firms, who believe it has little relevance for them. We believe Brexit is a threat even for those firms with a largely domestic client base and they neglect it at their peril.

“There is a real difference in Brexit preparedness. Around half of Top 20 firms have prepared a Brexit strategy and three quarters have already executed their plan.”

The survey showed a real difference in preparedness. Around half of Top 20 firms have prepared a Brexit strategy and three quarters have already executed their plan. This should help them deal with – or even capitalise on – the issues raised by the UK’s departure from the European Union. The remainder may find they are exposed. It is still unclear how it will impact their clients and overall business confidence and those without a strategy could lose competitiveness.

As we see it, there is still a pressing need for law firms to carry out a Brexit impact assessment on their services, their client base and their key individuals to ensure that they are not vulnerable to losing clients or staff losses. It is apparent that there will be opportunities arising from Brexit, but they are only likely to arise for those firms that have a strategy.

To find out more visit www.smithandwilliamson.com/en-ie

To download the survey, visit; https://smithandwilliamson.com/en-ie/insights/ireland-insights/7th-annual-survey-of-irish-law-firms

 

Marc Lowry is Head of Regional Business Development UK and Ireland for Smith & Williamson. Smith and Williamson have 12 offices across the UK and Ireland and are a Top 10 accountancy firm.

Areas of expertise

Commercial Management, Business Development Leader, Client Service, Professional Services, Commercial Strategy, Consulting

Experience

Marc helps ambitious business leaders and founders, achieve their personal aspirations, as well as the financial goals and objectives of the companies they run.

He leads Smith & Williamson’s Scale-Up programme in Dublin, providing an integrated suite of solutions, expertise and support, designed to help businesses grow quickly and achieve success.

He has a background in strategic, commercial and enterprise sales leadership roles in financial services, employee benefits and industrial goods. He has experience providing strategy and consulting advice to a variety of businesses in a diverse range of sectors.

 

 The views and opinions expressed by authors are their own and do not reflect the official position of the Chamber but are simply an illustration of the various opinions reflective of the diverse Chamber membership.