Research methodology

Our research into the directors at Top 100 UK law firms has been conducted to support a number of editorial pieces written for legalsupportnetwork.co.uk (LSN) by an independent journalist.

The research covers directors working in the operational areas of the Top 100 UK law firms, including Finance, Information Technology (IT) and Human Resources (HR).

Why do this research now?
There has been increased interest surrounding the role of directors in the operational/management side of law firms of late, mainly because of the introduction of changes to the legal sector made by the Legal Services Act.

The role of the law firm director is especially under the spotlight against the background of the introduction of Alternative Business Structures (ABSs) in 2011, which will enable law firms to explore new ways of organising their businesses to be more cost-effective and permit different kinds of lawyers and non-lawyers to work together, as well as allowing for external investment.

Researching methodology
At LSN we are committed to delivering the highest-quality information. We, like you, have seen far too often the results of poorly conducted research pieces that purport to represent a market share and seek out tenuous trends from the results, when in fact the respondents number an embarrassingly low proportion of the actual market share.

So we have dared to be different - we chose to adopt a collaborative approach to collecting our research.

Alongside researching support positions in top firms using information in the public domain - usually via firms' websites, LinkedIn or other social media - we contacted the individuals themselves where possible, or made a specific knowledgeable contact in each law firm, to help us ensure our data on directors is as accurate as possible.

The data we have collected on each individual includes: forename, surname, current firm, current job title, year the person joined the firm, and the title-holder's previous employer.

We have also included a gender element to the research, to get an idea of where UK law firms in terms on equality. An individual's gender has been based on the individual's name, and where necessary checks have been made to verify the gender with the individual.

Report terminology explained

Info Unavailable: On occasion we have been unable to contact or source the information and accordingly have recorded this as 'Info unavailable'. Any explicit request for data not to appear has also been labelled in this way.

Position Vacant: This indicates that at the time of the research there is no-one in this position.

Role does not exist: This appears where firms have indicated that there is no individual with this specific role in a director capacity. It may indicate another support director or manager level fills this brief.

First Employer: Indicates that an individual has not had an employer prior to their current employer.

Research accuracy and ongoing updates
This research has been conducted over a four-month period. Every measure has been taken to ensure the accuracy of data received from participants.

There may be occasions where an individual is no longer with the firm stated. We will be happy to update the research accordingly if notified of any changes.

Accessing research
All the editorial and research pieces can be found at www.legalsupportnetwork.co.uk/top100.

Reporting Updates or Amendments
Should you wish to edit, update or correct any information contained within this research piece, please get in touch with David Sparkes on davids@legalsupportnetwork.co.uk or 0870 112 5058.