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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Is it the end for CFAs as we know them?

As the Legal Aid Sentencing & Punishment of Offenders bill aka LASPO makes its way through The House Of Lords various amendments have been proposed that have caused great alarm.

Either unwittingly, unknowingly or quite possibly deliberately, the bill has been amended such that success fees will no longer be recoverable with the application being retrospective. This means that it will not just apply to CFAs entered into after some date in April 2013, but will be for all cases where judgement has not been entered.  So that long running dispute started a few years ago and heading to trial in June 2013, from which you were expecting a handsome reward – possibly for your pension or nest egg that you richly deserve given the risk taken – will disappear. Ouch.

As always, here at Carlisle Legal Costing, we will try to keep you up to date, but this is potentially devastating news for your firms’ business model. Over the next few weeks we will be working hard to bring you alternative business models for your firm

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.

Jackson fallout continues

Further spectacular fallouts continue to become obvious from the Jackson report.

Decisions eminating from Norwich County Court bring the viability of cases being conducted under Conditional Fee Agreements into question.

Simply click and register to follow the blog to obtain the latest commentary on LASPO and Jackson’s latest consequences giving rise to further satellite litigation and all those things Jackson LJ wanted to banish.