A survey by LexisNexis has found that sole practices and small firms were finding it very difficult to get new business.
The firms had to deal with too much of paperwork and solicitors were not finding support from the SRA or the Law Society, hence were turning to LinkedIn and other online forums for advice.
The interview was done among 100 lawyers 40 per cent of who were sole practitioners. A total of 85 per cent considered finding new business was their biggest challenge, while 83 per cent regarded compliance as a major issue. Changes in compliance such as the requirement to appoint a COLP and COFA, had come at a very wrong time the report said.
About 70 per cent spend more time on administration than before while trying to cope with the demands of economic down turn.
One in five sole practices said their workload was declining, compared to three or four years ago. The figure was lower for small firms, at only 8 per cent.
Generally, 44 per cent said their business was static, compared to 39 per cent who said it was growing.
However, 60 per cent of small firms said they hoped to grow in the next five years, and one in four were considering mergers.
Nick West LexisNexis Director of Legal Markets said that it was expected that securing new business and dealing with the economic downturn was some of the toughest challenges for the sector.
What was more disturbing was that something the government could control was getting in the way of a healthy legal sector. Regulation was the one thing that policymakers could do something about. As one solicitor said there was no problem in doing the work but there was problem in recording what was being done.
West added that at the end change means that high street law won't look like it did ten years ago. Sadly, some firms will not continue. Dealing with over burdensome regulation should not be one of the reasons they don't.
One way to find out a solution was by making the government and the regulators look into and reconsider the level of regulations and the requirements they were asking of the small law firms.