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State of the legal industry: Insight report

Our legal survey findings give you insights into the strengths, opportunities and challenges for the legal industry, plus this year shows you the success factors for firms who fared well through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcome to our State of the legal industry hub, where you’ll find a summary of findings from our latest legal survey. This is the seventh survey we’ve conducted into the legal industry, so make sure you’re across the latest trends and insights by entering your details into the form below to access the full report. 

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Fast facts

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Opportunities

People and growth-related factors dominate opportunities, with 67% choosing flexible work as a top priority.
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Challenges

People-related factors also dominate challenges, as 59% choose remote work as the biggest challenge.
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COVID-19

45% of firms adapted very well to the challenges of the pandemic, with technology and firm culture as key factors.
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Gender diversity

At the equity partnership level, female representation increased from 20% in 2019 to 28%, but remains unrepresentative of the diversity of professional staff generally.
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Cyber security

Nearly 70% of legal firms still consider cyber security a medium or high risk, indicating it’s time for a cyber security review.
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Data and analytics

63% of law firms do not invest in data and analytics, which could be a lost opportunity.
Flexible work both an opportunity and a challenge

‘New’ ways of working were identified as opportunities to drive cultural change, engage employees and attract and retain staff. But remote work and its impact on employee wellbeing was a challenge to law firms.

Investment in data and analytics

With law firms effectively using data and analytics in client work, it’s surprising that so few utilise it to manage their own business. Is this the greatest lost opportunity for law firms?

Adapting to COVID-19

Many of the changes driven by COVID-19 are here to stay, with firms committed to retaining flexible working arrangements, digital service delivery and reduced office space.

Financial performance

While many law firms indicate they have fared well through COVID-19, average fees per partner have declined in FY21 and are projected to do the same again in FY22, indicating ongoing challenging conditions.

Methodology

Pitcher Partners legal survey was conducted in September 2021. At the time, Melbourne was in lockdown, which is where the majority of respondents were located. This impact is clear in both the number of, and answers provided by, respondents. The Pitcher Partners legal survey is conducted annually.

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