Over the past few years, Manchester has really started to grow up, literally. It’s hard not to notice our skyline dominated by cranes as if they were steel prehistoric giants. We can see very clearly that Manchester is growing architecturally with the evidence all around us, but it isn’t just the physical aspects of the city that have changed. Perhaps sometimes we forget to take a deeper look into sectors or businesses that aren’t building new things, or flooding our social media feeds with flashy adverts. You may have guessed already, but this time we’re going to be taking a look at the growth of Manchester’s legal sector.
To begin our journey, we started with a visual representation of Manchester’s ‘Lawscape’ in the form of a map to show how we were looking 10 years ago compared to today! We’ve taken a sample of 112 law firms within the Mancunian Way circle of the city centre (of course, this isn’t the whole of Manchester, but for argument’s sake let’s make our lives easier for this one). Prior to 2010, now 10 years ago, only 65 out of these 112 were standing. That’s pretty impressive growth and it’s stemming from firms merging with ones in the capital, starting off on their own or moving in from overseas. Manchester continues to secure its place as the UK’s northern hub by reacting to the needs of the new.
The UK legal sector as a whole has been strengthening, a report from TheCityUK stated that revenue from the legal sector has been increasing by 6% year-on-year to £35.5bn in 2018. This figure has more than doubled over the last decade! According to the same report, 13,000 people are employed within Manchester’s legal sector, with the UK being the largest legal services market in Europe, beaten only by the US – this is continuously on the up too!
The future of the legal sector is an interesting one, with consistent growth and the consistent need for the service, it’s certainly an unsung sector to watch. Lawtech is expected to continue to dominate the industry, allowing more firms to grow on and offline, providing more jobs and even further depth to the industry. More legal services providers are popping up and are expected to continue to do so, these organisations predominantly consist of legal execs and paralegals to deliver advice (backed by a team of solicitors) which helps with the millennial pattern of not being as focused the status of the person delivering the advice, but rather if they can fulfil the customer’s needs in good time. With this new generational shift of not knowing and, more importantly, not caring whether they need a solicitor to write a will or buy a house, what does it mean for marketing in the legal sector? Firms will have to focus more on what they provide rather than who they are, as having grown up with constant trend changes and a wealth of information at their fingertips, the younger client is more likely to seek out specialist legal advice for their needs rather than remaining brand loyal.