According to a new report issued by Oxford Economics and Cambridge Econometrics, approximately 370,000 people are currently employed in the legal industry.
The legal sector grew by 8% over the course of 2015, with a number of factors bringing new revenue to the industry. Circumstances including an increasing number of people using London as their centre for battling out international legislation had a large part to play in establishing the industry and increasing growth. Oligarchs choosing to settle feuds, oil producer disputes and high-profile divorce cases all contributed to the industry growth, which is now estimated to be worth well over £26bn.
Research by the Law Society confirms this boost in profit, which has occurred despite the significant reductions in legal aid that have forced many family separation and childcare disputes to be settled with claimants representing themselves through the process. NHS and medical clinical negligence cases are thought to have grown considerably, bringing an additional £1.3bn to the industry as wronged patients sought reparation for misconduct or botched healthcare.
Further growth was attained through a rise in the number of business-related claims and cases seeking resolution, with these growth areas leading to the creation of jobs in the sector. According to the Law Society, an additional. £379m is generated for the economy for each one per cent growth in legal activities, and 8,000 additional jobs created. This significant boost for legal employment will have a positive impact upon recruitment nationally.
Despite the positive news for the sector, some solicitors have expressed concern that the growing trend in civil justice being conducted online may remove the need for lawyer interventions; in addition, increased austerity nationally could lead to a higher rate of business use for legal services, potentially dominating the industry. The planned closure of 86 courts nationally could also have a significant impact upon the legal industry.
In a related announcement, the Ministry of Justice has announced plans to conduct a review on how victims of human trafficking and modern slavery can be supported through improved access to legal aid to sue those responsible. If legislation were improved, this could contribute to a growth in the industry as increasing numbers of victims seek justice.
The growth in the industry over the course of 2015 looks set to continue, leaving recruitment agencies anticipating an increase in demand for qualified and experienced lawyers to accommodate the sector’s surge.
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