The defendant costs specialists

Association of Costs Lawyers' Chief Executive Officer

By on Dec 16, 2013 | 11 comments

The Association of Costs Lawyers recently announced the appointment of its first professional chief executive officer.

The ACL announcement stated:

“He will act as the focal point of the ACL’s campaign, highlighting the importance of solicitors using only fully qualified and regulated costs specialists in the costs management era.”

It is interesting that the broader term “costs specialist” has been used in place of “Costs Lawyer”, perhaps conscious of the fact that other qualified lawyers may work in the area of costs law.

But, the issue that keeps dwelling on my mind is that of “fully qualified”. Fully qualified at what? There are no Costs Lawyers (or any other legal professionals that I know of) who have qualified in the area of costs budgeting/costs management. None of those who qualified as Costs Lawyers would have had any “qualification” in this area as it would not have been incorporated into any of the old ACL training material and would not have formed part of the exam syllabus. It will presumably be incorporated into the new revamped one, with the next intake of students not being until September 2014.

There will no doubt be many costs professionals who will have undergone in-house costs budgeting training and/or attended costs budgeting seminars. The effectiveness of such training in helping to guarantee the budgets produced are accurate remains to be seen.

The first people who undertook modern brain surgery were no doubt already skilled and qualified surgeons, but did they claim to be qualified brain surgeons from day one or simply that they were rather optimistic pioneers with even more optimistic patients?

    11 Comments

  1. and thus again highlighting the rhetoric and hyperbole sprouted by the ACL about its members.

    I have asked many many times in this blog, for even just one Defendant CL to stand up and state how many bills they prepare a day as part of their routine activities. Not one response.

    as a draftsman of 20+ years standing and experience, I stopped supporting the ALCD when they introduced “Fellowship by handshake”; more so when they created CL’s by promotion from Associates to make up the numbers

    Interesting that the LSC refused to grant them protected status for billing activities

    Simon, you are quite right, claiming specialism in costs and trying to protect it to a non-representative body, is a joke – so why do proper Cost Lawyers whom attained the experience and qualification the correct way, stand by and allow the ACL represent them in this way??

    Anonymous

    16th December 2013

  2. At the end of the day we all know the truth.

    Two proper costs draftsmen, one of which happens to be a costs lawyer.

    Both can prepare decent bills, know the cpr and costs law and can appear as an advocate.

    When speaking to each other after an assessment, regardless of the result, it would take a bold costs lawyer to suggest that their qualification makes them in any way better than the non qualified costs draftsman.

    Simple as that.

    We all know it boils down to a PR smear campaign and it stinks of desperation.

    Money Money Money

    16th December 2013

  3. @ MMM

    actually, I’ve had CL’s twice turn up @ DA & try and make out because they’re “qualified” they justify a high charge rate, whereas poor little me is just a Grade D cost monkey.

    It would’ve been less hilarious had I not just handed their derrieres to them on a plate on both occasions

    The moral of the tale: unfortunately, there ARE some CL’s actually believe the smear campaign is the truth

    Anonymous

    16th December 2013

  4. Well said Money Money Money

    Anonymous

    16th December 2013

  5. The law changes on a daily basis and solicitors are still ‘fully qualified’ to deal with it. So what if costs law has changed?

    Pete B

    16th December 2013

  6. Surely Cost Budgeting / Management requires 1st hand knowledge / experience of running substantive claims & should thus, be limited to real lawyers (solicitors / barristers / legal execs) & not left to jumped up cost jockeys who have never ran a substantive file in their lives…..

    xyz

    17th December 2013

  7. @ xyz

    there speaks a man (woman?) whom is a bean counter or percentage reduction negotiator; “real lawyers” are the LEAST qualified to determine (1) how a case SHOULD be run (note the distinction; how they do it, and how it should be done, are two different things); and (2) to actually understand the cost of their actions.

    This is why all the little bean counters and percentage negotiators have been in business over the years, because the vast majority of “real lawyers” haven’t a clue about running a case.

    this is also why they are all now running scared, and trying to make billing a reserved activity and smearing real cost experts

    Anonymous

    17th December 2013

  8. In a nutshell:

    1. Costs Lawyer is a stupid name.
    2. There are some good and bad draftsman and good and bad costs lawyers.
    3. CLs and CDs are no better at estimating costs than solicitors.
    4. Mitchell will not mean more work for our profession per se.
    5. CJs and DJs will always think of us as the poor relations of the legal profession.

    Ticklemebills

    17th December 2013

  9. Define “real lawyer”

    Anonymous

    18th December 2013

  10. @ ticklemebills

    whom is this perse that wont be getting more work?? does he want a job as I’ve been inundated by requests for budgets from terrified lawyers, some of whom may or may not be “real”, since “Mitchell” – its understandable, any member of that Eastenders family would terrify me too

    Anonymous

    18th December 2013

  11. @ anonymous 2.33

    a real lawyer is anyone who all claimant draftsmen don’t hide away under the title “Grade C fee earner”

    Anonymous

    18th December 2013

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