Annual Law Firms' Survey 2016

Welcome to our 2016 Annual Law Firms' survey. Here you'll find the key themes and findings as well as section by section highlights from within the report.

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  • £1.068m

    No change in average Top 10 PEP

  • 1.0 - 1.4%

    Range of profit margins falling

  • 19%

    Spare capacity within firms (fixed share equity partners Top 10 firms)


We've taken the opportunity in this 25th anniversary edition to look at the results of the current year, look back on previous years and, in the 'firm of the future' section, forward to the challenges firms are likely to face in the future.

Watch our overview video as David Snell, head of our Law Firms' Advisory group, and Kate Wolstenholme, our UK Business Services leader, consider the results. You can also explore historic data using the interactive tool, download the executive summary and register for full access to all of the findings below.


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Explore the historical data

Using the tool below, you can explore the results of all of our Law Firms' surveys from 2008 to 2016. From key KPIs for law firms including 'fees per fee earner' and 'profit margins', to yearly changes in the siize of Top 100 by fee income and male vs female full equity partners. You can analyse and compare the performance of the top 100 firms in the legal sector over the last nine years.

Access the explorer below and download the full report to get a more detailed analysis of the 2016 results:

Explore by selecting a date and range
      Fees per fee earner (£'000)
      PEP (£'000)
      Profit margins (%)
      Chargeable hours 1-5 years pqe (hours)
      Size of Top 100 by fee income
      Top 10
      Top 11-25
      Top 26-50
      Top 51-100
      Summary P&L
      Male vs Female full equity partners (%)
      % spend on Business Support
      Secretarial support
      Training & HR
      Finance function
      IT revenue
      Marketing & BD
      Other support functions

      The firm of the future

      In this section, new for 2016, we analyse the impact of the global 'megatrends' such as the rise in digital technology, shifts in global economic power and changes in demographic/social power which are creating unprecedented levels of disruption. Clients are demanding more, historical barriers to entry are weakening and employee behaviours and requirements are changing. The legal sector is undoubtedly being impacted and the successful law firm of tomorrow is going to look very different from the law firm of today. Here, we share our views on the issues that today’s law firm will need to address in order to be successful.

      PwC Law Firms' survey on Twitter

      Contact us

      David Snell
      Head of Law Firms Advisory Group
      Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 8247

      Kate Wolstenholme
      UK Leader of Industry for Business Services
      Tel: +44(0)20 7804 4803

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