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Steven Bernstein comments on the growth of SME law firms in The Brief

July 2023

Co-Founder and Senior Director Steven Bernstein analyses the recent LexisNexis Bellwether survey examining the changing ways in which SME law firms are growing their business. 

Steven’s comments were published in BCL Legal’s The Brief and can be found here.

With this report, it’s unsurprising to see large-scale law firm mergers falling out of favour with those firms that are looking to grow their business. A merger can bring disruption to a firm, as it takes time and effort to fully integrate two businesses, which may have conflicting cultures, and this issue will be exacerbated in the current climate where many people work from home for much of the week.

Organic growth and business development, by contrast, appear far more popular for this reason.

Culture is a massively important part of the way we do things at Lawrence Stephens. As we have grown our firm and continued to attract individuals and teams with existing followings, we have sought to put our culture and environment at the forefront of what we do, and ensure we bring in like-minded individuals.

While large, ‘flashy’ mergers might be falling out of favour with SME law firms, the combination of organic growth with smaller acquisitions seems to be bearing fruit. By bringing in individuals or small teams with an existing following, as opposed to entire firms, the transition process is far less disruptive and takes less time to embed new joiners into the culture of a firm.

While business development and marketing is of course an essential part of winning new business, it is far easier to get additional work from an existing client than it is to secure new business from a new client. As Lawrence Stephens continues to grow, over the coming year we are placing a greater emphasis on cross-selling our services to existing clients, as our wide range of departments and expertise allows us to provide a full-service to clients while also winning new business for a range of departments.