It is estimated that there are about 150,000 practicing solicitors and 10,150 law firms authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Approximately half of each category is based in London.

In addition, there are about:

  • 30,000 legal services providers authorised and regulated by other regulators

  • 17,000 barristers

  • 130,000 unregulated legal services providers

All these bring the total approximate of legal services providers to an astonishing 340,000 in England and Wales alone!

To put this into perspective, it is estimated that in all of the UK there are around 350 banks, 20,000 estate agencies, 87,150 grocery stores and 23,000 licensed restaurants.

Also bear in mind that many legal services providers are not authorised and regulated.

In fact, there are only a few types of legal services that are authorised and regulated: court advocacy, conduct of litigation, conveyancing, probate, administration of oaths, immigration and certain finance-related legal work.

Most other types of legal services can be provided unregulated and even without a legal background.


So, contrary to the popular belief, the term “lawyer” does not mean an authorised and regulated legal practitioner.

What does this all mean when it comes to your choices of a legal services provider?

  • not all legal services providers will be equally suitable for your specific legal issue

  • the pricing can be extremely varied and far from obvious

  • meaningful navigation through these choices is very difficult without expert market knowledge

  • not all legal services providers will keep you up to date and communicate with you in a clear, helpful and timely manner

  • there are more than 130,000 of unregulated ones

  • your consumer rights and protections can differ significantly depending on the provider’s regulatory status

  • the name and reputation of a legal services provider will not necessarily guarantee value for money

  • very few of the better ones will be keen on “walk ins”

Simply finding one of the many legal services providers out there is neither enough, nor a guarantee for a successful resolution of a legal issue – understanding of the market, informed decisions and professional legal management are.