Skip to content
Legal Marketplace

2021 State of the Legal Market in Europe report shows growth amid change for region

· 5 minute read

· 5 minute read

The Thomson Reuters Institute's annual "2021 State of the Legal Market in Europe" report shows that law firms in the region were able to grow despite a year of dramatic change

Without a doubt, the past 18 months have been characterized by uncertainty and upheaval around the globe and throughout many industries, including the legal market. Across Europe, like elsewhere, corporations have faced unprecedented change as a result of the global pandemic even as they dealt with their own unique challenges, such as the U.K.’s exit from the European Union.

Adding to that, the outside legal service providers and their corporate clients are facing continued geopolitical uncertainty and a rise in conversations around environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) issues. So, it’s little wonder then that across the European continent corporate clients’ expectations of their law firms have shifted.

You can download a full copy of the Thomson Reuters Institute’s annual “2021 State of the Legal Market in Europe” report below

Into this mix, the Thomson Reuters Institute has published its annual 2021 State of the Legal Market in Europe report, based on analysis conducted on proprietary primary research that included interviews with more than 500 senior corporate counsel across Mainland Europe and 478 private practice lawyers who had been identified as stand-out lawyers by their clients. The report explores the issues that unfolded in the European legal market and the implications for those law firm and law department leaders looking to make the right strategic decisions in 2021 and beyond.

Key takeaways

Despite this change and uncertainty, the report shows that the European legal market currently is at its highest levels of optimism around legal spend of the last two years. As general counsel once again realize their companies’ reliance on the wider legal industry to help them navigate these choppy waters, law firms and other legal service providers now are looking to capture this expected spending surge. However, firms are also finding themselves under more client pressure than ever before to be efficient and cost-effective.


The report also shows that while it’s true that Europe overall remains highly localized, making it difficult to identify common conclusions across each of the individual countries, there were several key trends that did emerge in the research, including:

Relationships — The tumult of the global pandemic has meant a resurgence in the importance of relationships with individuals, especially between key clients and their most favored lawyers. Of utmost importance is how those individuals have been able to work together to deliver holistic legal service across borders and practice areas.

Innovation — The impact that new technology and innovation will have on the delivery of legal services cannot be overstated. Additionally, these developments will elevate the importance of certain individual skills that clients now say they are looking for in their legal partners, particularly in a world where hybrid working patterns are becoming more the norm.

Business savvy — There may be nothing that clients have sought from their outside legal counsel that is more important to them than to have counsel that demonstrate a strong understanding of clients’ businesses and industries. Again, most importantly, clients say they want counsel that can leverage their specialty knowledge to provide proactive and pragmatic solutions for clients’ business challenges.

You can download a full copy of the Thomson Reuters Institute’s annual “2021 State of the Legal Market in Europe” report here:


More insights