Lawyers, it seems, are putting their clients first and themselves last.

That's the picture that emerged from a survey carried out by the Wesleyan, the Birmingham mutual assurance society, to help launch a financial service specifically for the legal profession.

It found that on average lawyers dream of retiring at 62.

Unfortunately, more than half (53 per cent) of those questioned by the Wesleyan admitted to having made inadequate financial provision for their retirement.

The society said that "worryingly", 42 per cent of those aged over 51 did not feel confident that they would be secure once they gave up their practice.

Women are more poorly prepared then men, with 60 per cent saying they don't have adequate plans.

These findings come from independent research commissioned by Wesleyan for Lawyers, a recently launched service designed to provide dedicated and holistic financial services and products for lawyers in the West Midlands.

The new service, which is on similar lines to those operated by the Wesleyan for doctors, dentists and teachers, will eventually go national.

Mark Tootill, national sales manager for Wesleyan for Lawyers, was not surprised at the results of the survey.

"Lack of provision for retirement is something that we're continually coming across in our discussions and highlights the need for a dedicated financial advice service tailored to lawyers' needs," he said.

"I would advise lawyers to start planning for retirement now, however young they are.

"The key things to consider are what kind of lifestyle you want when you retire, the age at which you want to stop working and how much you need to provide for any dependents. Then talk to a financial consultant about the best way to achieve these aims.

"Wesleyan Assurance Society, our parent company, has many years of experience in dealing with other professional groups - mainly doctors, dentists and teachers.

"These professionals are generally better prepared for retirement, probably because they have structured pension schemes in place provided by the NHS or education authorities."

Paul Farrow, chief executive of Birmingham Law Society, commented: "The research find-ings show that lawyers are typical of those in the professional services sector who put their clients first and themselves last.

"Making adequate financial provision for their retirement is something many lawyers intend to get around to, but in many cases can leave it too late.

"Wesleyan's service is designed to offer a one-stop-shop to time-challenged lawyers, to ensure they and their families have a secure future."

The research also showed that:

* A third (33 per cent) of West Midland lawyers own their own home compared with 28 per cent nationally and 19 per cent for the population as a whole.

* The figure rises to 70 per cent for those aged 51 and over, higher than the national aver-age of 40 per cent.

* Lawyers tend to move house more often than average. Of those surveyed, 69 per cent have lived in the same house for five years or less.

* The majority, 71 per cent, take two holidays or more a year. Preferred destinations are Western Europe and the UK, with only 19 per cent opting for North America and Canada. Over half of those questioned in the West Midlands (54 per cent) said they preferred holidaying in the UK.

While they are happy to spend money on holidays, lawyers are less extravagant when it comes to buying a car. Although 60 per cent own two or more cars (71 per cent in the West Midlands) compared with the national average of 28 per cent, 71 per cent of those surveyed planned to spend less than £20,000 on their next car. That figure rose to 80 per cent in the West Midlands.