The first ever investigation of the wider economic value of UK’s legal services sector has found that 8,000 new jobs are created and £379m is added to the economy for every one 1% growth in the UK’s £25.7bn legal services sector.
Based on analysis undertaken by Cambridge Econometrics, Oxford Economics and the Law Society’s Research Unit, the report found that for each £1 of extra turnover in the sector stimulates £1.39 in the rest of the economy.
At a time when the Chancellor has just downgraded the UK’s GDP growth forecasts, it is interesting to note that these latest figures show growth in the legal services sector has averaged 3.3% every year for the last decade, outstripping the wider UK economic growth rate of 1.2%.
Net exports of legal services have grown by an average of 5.6% per annum over the last 10 years, to £3.6 billion.
The Law Society’s chief executive Catherine Dixon said: “The provision of expert legal services is fundamental to the success of business and commerce and underpins the very fabric of our society.
“From high street solicitors to global law firms, and from in-house solicitors to those who operate in alternative business models, our research shows that growth in legal services significantly contributes to the wider economy, boosting investment and jobs. Solicitors and employees of solicitor firms make up 63% of the legal sector.
“The total value of legal services to the economy is £25.7bn. The sector grew by 8% from 2014 to 2015. This is a phenomenal success story which we should celebrate.”
Net exports of legal services have also grown in value by an average of 5.6% per annum over the last 10 years, to £3.6bn in 2014. The legal services sector is a net exporter, helping to offset the UK’s overall balance of payments deficit.