Surviving in practice

Looking through ‘The Community Legal Service (Funding) (Amendment No.2) Order 2011’ The Community Legal Service (Funding) (Amendment No.2) 2011 you wonder a) how on earth do people make sense of this, and b) how did we end up here. When starting out as a trainee costs draftsman, excluding criminal law, I had 2 tables to refer to – civil rates and family rates – which occupied a couple of pages in my now battered Cook on Costs. Now we have 16 pages. Its kind of like the Budget which used to occupy a few pages and now you need a wooden crate.

Why does a neurosurgeon in London get less per hour than one in the provinces? Why do we pay so relatively little to people dealing with vulnerable children?

Likewise, how complicated can they make the LASPO Bill. It emerged, following a panicked response from the MOJ that the amendments proposed by The House of Lords last week were purely to bring into the equation Collective Conditional Fee Agreements, which may otherwise have been omitted. It was not intended that the proposed disallowance of recovery between the parties of the success fee would be retrospective.

 

It is therefore imperative that law firms retain high quality costs lawyers and costs draftsmen to help firms wade through the quagmire of paperwork to remain in practice and remain profitable.  Why not inquire how we can help, book a seminar on costs related issues, or instruct us to sort out your case management issues.

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Elephant in the room

There are a number of elephants in the room at present:
1) Alternative Business Structures
2) Mergers & Acquisitions
3) Jackson / LASPO

Law firms, whether you are a sole practitioner, small high street practice or even regional & national firm will be affected.

Solicitors and law firms, both traditional and modern will need to adapt and take any advantage or opportunity that may help them rise above the new entrants in the market and the storms rumbling on due to LASPO, and and adopt best possible working practices.

One of which would be to ensure your fee earners are employed in the most costs effective way – fee earning. The second thing would be to employ the services of experts in the field of costs and profitability – namely a costs lawyer.

Why would you do that?

The main one is that they are the most up to date on costs law, CFAs, ATE disputes, third party costs orders etc. But another point often overlooked is that the costs lawyer has the added benefit of comparing what other firms are doing with what you are doing and helping in an advisory capacity to improve best working practices.

Contact Carlisle Legal Costing on 01228 63 55 45 to discuss how we can help you further.

We will be happy to attend your offices to host costs seminars and training, or visit us for our next one coming next month.

New Bill Format

Proposals are underway to revamp the much maligned Bill of Costs. Whilst not an accusation leveled at our often praised bills, it is often the case that there is a distinct absence of detail within bills and Lord Jackson has claimed that the production of bills of costs should be reduced to the push of a button, thus generating pristine bills full of detail that are readily viewable, adaptable and alterable so all parties can change them to see varying outcomes. This will ultimately lead to reduced time preparing the bills and reduced time adding up the bills following a detailed assessment.

Noble aspirations.

At CLC, we are already able to do both the readily amendable and instant calculations as proven at a recent detailed assessment where half a million pounds worth of costs across a number of bills were ready by the time the Judge had made his order. But this misses a trick. The fact that the Costs Lawyer has taken the time to read the file and prepare the bill knowing what he can and cannot reasonably expect to recover is removed by Jackson’s proposals, and in addition, time spent preparing and considering is increased to reflect the fact the Costs Lawyer is less familiar with the case.

As such, it is highly debatable whether what Jackson aims to achieve will be achieved.