The Law Society of England and Wales wants legal services placed at the top of the Brexit agenda, given the sector’s value to the British economy.
The representative body yesterday published a report showing the sector contributed £60bn to the economy in 2018.
The average value of each employee’s gross value added (GVA) contribution climbed to £100,500, compared to the national average of £54,330.
Legal services account for over 1% of the total UK labour force and supports 552,000 full-time employees, including 150,000 indirectly in the supply chain.
Another 3,000 are supported through the spending of employee wages.
A 1% rise in productivity this year could boost GDP by over £1bn, according to the report.
The €60 billion figure is more than double a figure given by the Big Four accounting firms in 2016 which didn’t take account of GVA for jobs such as those done by in-house lawyers.
GVA estimates the value of goods and services offset by costs of producing those services.
Positive net contribution
Legal services exports from Britain were at £5bn in 2017 and made a positive net contribution to the UK’s balance of trade of £4.3bn.
Productivity climbed by 17% between 2013 and 2018.
The report also shows the value of pro bono work done by legal professionals.
In 2017, 43,800 England and Wales solicitors worked 1,446,000 unbilled hours, valued at £439m.