Legal market to ‘cool substantially’ following post-lockdown boom

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By William Holmes on


Decline in corporate work but uptick in competition matters, new report predicts

A new report indicates that the legal market is due to “cool substantially” following a post-lockdown boom which saw a surge in demand for legal services in the second half of 2021.

Demand for legal expertise is expected to decrease for a variety of reasons including rising inflation, new regulations and sanctions, and the threat of a recession, according to data from LexisNexis’ latest Gross Legal Product (GLP) index.

The index, which highlights areas of law that are growing or falling in demand, predicts that this will effect the demand for corporate law the most, forecasting a decline of 22% compared to last year by the end of 2022 as corporate transactions and IPOs dry up.

By contrast, competition lawyers are expected to see a strong increase in demand of 17% to the end of the year, a trend that is expected to continue into 2023. This comes off the back of the Competition Markets Authority’s growing interventionism as well as new security and sustainability measures amongst other things.

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Commercial lawyers’ workloads are only expected to be bumped up 1% according to the index, although it is anticipated that this number will rise again in 2023. This is down to a rebound in activity for imports and exports, foreign investments and new companies being created.

The report’s editor, Dylan Brown, commented that the index “gives law firms and in-house teams some helpful hints as to where they could invest or reposition their resources. However, it is purely prediction, as we have drawn conclusions from publicly available data.”

He adds: “Today’s economically uncertain times have caused a great deal of unrest in the corporate world. There’s a constant barrage of conflicting reports coming out, and despite everything still being up in the air, the default setting for most businesses right now will be risk aversion.”

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