Legal excellence, internationally renowned: UK legal services 2023

The UK’s legal services sector continues to make a positive contribution to the UK’s economy. The sector plays a key role in helping businesses in the UK and across the globe to trade, grow and adapt, including through the challenges they face at a time of global political instability and inflationary pressures.

Legal services form an integral part of the UK’s financial and related professional services ecosystem and underpin business stability and growth across the economy.

Legal services employ


people, almost two thirds of whom are based outside London

Revenue generated by legal activities in the UK increased by


year on year in 2022 to £43.7bn

Legal services contributed


to the UK economy in 2022

  • Total revenue from legal activities in the UK increased to £43.7bn in 2022, much of which was generated by the top 100 UK law firms, who netted more than £33.7bn in 2022/23 – up 8% from previous year.
  • TheCityUK’s research estimates that the total tax contribution of the legal and accounting sectors to the UK public finances in 2020 was £20.5bn, up by 5.4% from 2018. We also estimate that for every £100 of UK turnover made by UK legal and accountancy firms, an amount equivalent to £33.63 is paid in taxes, and for every £100 of profit, £54.60 is paid in tax by the sector.
  • The in-house sector has continued to grow. In 2022, 26% of solicitors in England and Wales and 25% of solicitors in Scotland worked in-house, up from 20% and 22% respectively a decade earlier.
  • The UK’s unique approach to regulation continues to support legal services innovation. Non-lawyers have been able to own and manage legal services businesses in the UK since the Legal Services Act 2007. Around 10% of England and Wales’ nearly 10,000 law firms are now operating as alternative business structures (ABS).
  • Investment in UK LawTech continues at pace with around 200 UK LawTech companies attracting a total of £674m of private Investment in 2020 and employing 7,100 people.

There are over


foreign law firms with offices in the UK

The UK is home to


of LawTech startups in Europe


disputes were resolved by Alternative Dispute Resolution in the UK

The UK ranks second globally for legal services fee revenue

Legal services’ trade surplus in 2022 was a strong


Parties from

78 countries

used the Commercial Courts in 2022-23

Data for 2021 shows that major centres of legal services employment in that year include London (138,000) Manchester (13,000), Leeds (11,000), Birmingham (10,000), Edinburgh (6,000) and Glasgow (6,000), Cardiff (4,500) and Belfast (3,330).

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