The defendant costs specialists

Posts made in August, 2011

Costs Lawyer growth

By on Aug 10, 2011 | 19 comments

Costs Lawyer magazine recently listed a bumper number of those applying to join the Association of Costs Lawyers as new members. The ACL has also called for new tutors to help with the 100+ new students who will be inducted in September. This is a totally unprecedented number and remarkable for such a small body.  (The Costs Lawyer Standards Board has been proceeding on the basis that it will be governing a professional body of, initially, no more than 500 individuals in total.) It is also counter-intuitive and the opposite of my own predictions. With a combination of Jackson reform and major legal aid upheaval there will be many working in the legal costs field who will be worrying about their futures. I would have expected a number of existing members to be seriously considering whether it is worth renewing their membership. I would have expected zero interest over the next year or two from new people looking to join. It must be remembered that there is now no shortcut for new members looking to join. Those who join will join as student members and are required to undertake the full demanding training course before they become Costs Lawyers. Why is the exact opposite of my predictions happening? It appears that both employers and individuals recognise the future of the legal costs profession is going to be more specialised (as the low-value work disappears), more competitive and require more highly skilled lawyers. It appears that joining the ACL is seen by many as the best way to prepare for the...

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Junior law costs draftsman's salary

By on Aug 8, 2011 | 12 comments

On a fairly regular basis I receive unsolicited CVs from costs drafting recruitment firms. I received one the other day in respect of an individual who had completed the LPC in 2009. In December 2009 they had started work for a costs drafting firm, giving them, by my calculations, 17-18 months experience. Apparently the average size bill they work with is £30k-£50k. They didn’t appear to be a member of the Association of Costs Lawyers. For salary/expectations the figure given was £40,000+. Perhaps the good times for those who work in costs law are not about to end any time...

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Costs draughtsman shenanigans

By on Aug 3, 2011 | 18 comments

Further to my post last week about the lawyers accused of legal aid fraud, readers may be interested to hear the outcome of the trial (particularly the anonymous reader who posted a comment asking if I “actually have the facts about the costs draftsman or are you basing your judgement of what Metro reported?”. The Law Society Gazette reports (hey, I’m going to trust them on this), that “a criminal defence solicitor and a costs draughtsman [sic] have been jailed for a £430,000 legal aid scam. Solicitor Reuben Ewujowoh … was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. Costs draughtsman Robert Odong … was sentenced to two-and-a-half years and recommended for deportation, as he is a failed asylum seeker. Legal case worker Lloyd McDonald … was entirely cleared by the Croydon Crown Court jury. … Describing the two convicted defendants as ‘remorseless and ruthless in their behaviour’, Judge John Tanzer said they had pocketed £430,000”. The costs draftsman was not a Costs Lawyer and therefore not regulated. On the other hand, the solicitor was regulated. This coincides with the recent report on will writing suggesting regulated solicitors and unregulated will writers were equally responsible for substandard wills. This story just highlights the limitations of regulation. Although it will be interesting to see if the Costs Lawyer Standards Board starts to implement spot checks on Costs Lawyers’ files to check for “irregular”...

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CFA precedents

By on Aug 2, 2011 | 0 comments

The Law Society Gazette recently had an advice section on CFA precedents for CFAs with counsel which stated: “APIL/PIBA 6 was drafted specifically with PI and clinical negligence proceedings in mind where the solicitor is also working under terms with his client (on the Law Society model agreement). It is an industry-wide agreement and there is little prospect of a prudent PI solicitor departing from its key clauses”. A prudent PI solicitor might wish to review the key clauses where they are entering into a CFA with counsel after liability has been admitted. “Grotesque” funding arrangement...

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