THE majority of private practice legal firms in Scotland have weathered the worst of the coronavirus fall-out, with a shift in confidence emerging, a survey has found.

The Law Society of Scotland said it was “very encouraging” that most appear to have overcome the negative economic impact of the pandemic.

It is the society's third survey into how private practice law firms' finances have been hit by Covid-19.

The survey was carried out 11 months on from the second report, and results show that staffing levels and workloads have largely returned to pre-pandemic levels for most firms and, in some instances, increased.

Cashroom managers at 136 private firms were interviewed, and 55 said that turnover would remain the same, with 63 indicating that it would either increase or significantly increase over the next 12 months.

HeraldScotland:

However, 16 firms thought that turnover over the next year would reduce and one thought it would reduce significantly.

Key findings also included that the pandemic has not significantly impacted firms’ recruitment plans, with 59 per cent of respondents saying they intend to keep their solicitor staff numbers at the existing levels over the next 12 months, with 24% of firms planning to increase their solicitor staff numbers in the next year, and no firms saying they would decrease solicitor staff.

Conducted in September, the survey found 95% of firms had no solicitors on furlough and 81% had no support staff on furlough. Almost all indicated their intention to have all staff back to work, with just one of the firms surveyed considering staff redundancy.

Ken Dalling, law society president, said: “The results of the latest survey of private practice firms are very encouraging and indicate how well the profession has managed to adapt throughout the pandemic - to survive and, in some cases, to thrive.

“Of course, we cannot take anything for granted. Despite a gradual return to normal life, Covid-19 remains a serious risk to society and the economy, and we must keep this in mind." He said the law society will "continue to do all we can to support the profession".