More than 70 per cent of high street law firms face closure

More than 70 per cent of high street law firms face closure after coronavirus crisis causes ‘dramatic plunge in income’

  • Almost three out of four high street law firms may close due to Covid-19 
  • A survey of 774 firms by the Law Society produced the shocking figures 
  • High Street law firms are described as practices who have four partner or fewer 
  • Such firms have been hit by ‘a dramatic plunge in income’  due to the crisis 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Simon Davis, President of the Law Society, said more than 70 per cent of high street legal firms could face closure because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis

Many high street law firms could face closure this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Law Society survey.

The results showed 71 per cent of small law firms believe they may have to close their doors within the next six months because of social distancing hindering face-to-face transactions, court hearings and the wider economy.

The Law Society defines high street law firms as those with four partners or fewer, and the survey results were based on answers from 774 firms.

President of the Law Society, Simon Davis, said the shock to the legal system has been ‘sudden and severe’ and firms face ‘a dramatic plunge in income.’

He said: ‘Although a firm may be open for business, this does not mean it is business as usual.

‘Residential property transactions have ground to a halt. Reduction in court hearings has massively impacted on the amount of work available – while social distancing and the lack of face-to-face meetings is causing difficulty delivering in other areas, such as the execution of wills.

‘Elsewhere, small firms have suffered from the decline in overall activity – particularly from service industries such as retail, leisure and hospitality.

‘The fate of the high-street firm is thus intrinsically bound to that of other small businesses.’

He said that firms are struggling because although the Government provides ‘some relief’, they are ‘specifically excluded’ from support for small businesses, and they are expected to continue paying business rates while their buildings are empty.

He added: ‘Though the government support will provide some relief, there is a growing fear that many businesses will fall through the cracks.’

Mr Davis also said individual solicitors are also at risk because some are not eligible for support for the self-employed, and those who are paid via dividends are in need of a support package.

Many high street law firms have seen their income wiped out as they have been forced to implement social distancing measures while normal business such as residential property transactions and court cases have dried up

 

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