Begbies Traynor Group

Professional Services – Legal Sector

Advising law firms through challenging times

At Begbies Traynor Group we have gathered together an experienced team with a proven track record of working within the legal sector, helping law firms navigate challenging times.

Legal Sector Challenges

Many of these issues are interrelated; some are obvious red flags, while others are subtle and go unnoticed by management until other failings prompt the appointment of independent external advisers, such as Begbies Traynor, and they come to light. The following are some of the most common issues:

Professional indemnity insurance (PII) renewal
October marks the traditional renewal season for PII. Insurance premiums continue to climb because of legacy strain on insurers due to Covid, fewer active insurers who will cherry-pick which firms to cover, as well as broader inflationary pressures and tighter financial conditions.

Specialist second-tier law firm financiers tend to back them in pursuit of highly speculative claims. If these cases reach the Supreme Court and are deemed not in the ‘public interest’, law firms face mounting costs that cannot be paid, resulting in financiers trying to recover their loans by enforcing personal guarantees.
Personal injury (PI) claims
The threshold for PI claims in the small claims court increased in April 2022 and the level of claims covered by insurers has gone up. These changes will lead to a run-off in PI work volume for these practices.
Overvalued WIP
Work in progress (WIP) can be the business’s main asset. But, too often, the management of this book of unpaid work is unrealistic, overvalued and bears little relation to the revenue that is eventually recouped.
Internal disputes
Catalysts range from lack of profitability, declining work volume, court failure for a significant legal claim, inability to secure a trade sale, valuation and apportioning blame.
Key partners leaving
When law firms fall into distress, people usually start looking to leave, significantly reducing the window in which a successful sale process can be secured. The more people leave, the harder it becomes to save what is left.
Court case backlog
Barristers’ industrial action in relation to legal aid fees started in early 2022, and has created a back log of cases.
Conveyancing work
The housing market activity is expected to suffer from rising interest rates, reduced mortgage liquidity, and the broader cost of living crisis squeeze which will see specialist law firms see a decline in activity.

How can Begbies Traynor Group assist?

The small to mid-market UK legal sector is a highly fragmented market ripe for consolidation and distress over the coming quarters as the economy battles tighter financial conditions and a recession which will reduce case volume and cash flows. This could result in law firms seeking independent advice – it cannot be stressed enough to approach advice early to maximise the range of options available to the business, avoiding intervention at all costs.

Begbies Traynor Group can work closely with law firms to offer professional advice, including:


Corporate InsolvencyCorporate insolvency
(Including pre-packs)

Debt/equity refinancingDebt/equity refinancing

Mergers and acquisitionsMergers and acquisitions

Contingency planningContingency planning 

Advisory servicesAdvisory services

BTG Commercial Arbitration ForumBTG Commercial Arbitration Forum

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