New Entrant in UK 200 is Rewriting the Rules

The success of a small Stockport based conveyancing firm shows some of the other top law firms how business is changing.


LONDON (Within The Law) - A Stockport based conveyancing firm has made it into the UK 200. It’s a good moment for them but it also shines a light on the changing nature of the legal services market in the UK. It’s one in which technology is levelling the playing field everywhere. 

As Matt Byrne writes in the Lawyer the difference between this small firm and larger players such as DLA Piper is a stake. O’Neil Patient ranks 98th in the list in terms of revenue with £31.2m. That pales into insignificance against DLA Piper’s turnover of £2.1bn. However, DLA Piper’s revenue was generated by 4,311 lawyers giving it an average revenue per lawyer figure of £490,000. 

O’Neil Partners, however, generated all their revenue through just 18 lawyers giving it an average RPL of £1.74 million. It’s the highest figure of any top 100 law firm. So how did they do it?  

The firm has expanded rapidly recently. It recently acquired Cavendish Legal and gets most of its revenue from property work, mainly conveyancing. It uses an alternative business model in which most of its profit goes to its corporate member O’Neil Patient limited.

It also relies on non-lawyer fee earners. Of the 478 it employs 161 are fee earners and just 18 are lawyers.

Their success means their rivals will be looking closely at their model and seeing what lessons they can learn. 

(Written by Tom Cropper, Edited by Klaudia Fior)

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