Legal Cost Specialists

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 future.

    19 Comments

  1. One reason for the surge could be that in recent years many women have realised that bill drafting from home can be fitted in with bringing up a family and provide an additional income.

    They can gain the ACL qualification at their leasure and when their children start school open out their career.

    Cockney Rebel

    10th August 2011

  2. I can foresee a great future for costs lawyers. Costs are becoming more and more important and are permeating through all stages of litigation.

    I can see a future where costs lawyers are required to take on more and more tasks that were traditionally seen as part of the substantive action, and therefore only undertaken by the solicitor.

    Costs Lawyers, in my opinion, are going to be an increasingly growing profession as the status and importance of its functions grow.

    Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    10th August 2011

  3. Prefer a solicitor specialising in costs.

    Anonymous

    10th August 2011

  4. “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 future.”

    Rubbish. I know of many disillusioned current and former members not renewing because of the ethos of the ACL. The reason there has been a sudden influx of new applicants, is because of your chairmans rant about making bill drafting a restricted activity only to ACL members, and that has clearly frightened the more susceptible people out there

    Anonymous

    10th August 2011

  5. i prefer a solicitor with at least a basic concept of costs

    annon

    10th August 2011

  6. I can earn £118.00 per hour drafting a bill as a non member and I can also earn £118.00 per hour drafting a bill as a member.

    Upon meeting new Solicitor clients I have never been asked am I a member of the ACL!

    Discuss…

    Former ALCD member

    10th August 2011

  7. Why doesn’t someone ask the applicants whey they want to join?

    I joined because I got bored with disabusing people that I was a member. The costs lawyer title is quite clever because it has has gained traction as a generic term for people doing the job.

    Plus it was going to get harder to join if I didn’t do it last year.

    Simple really

    Andy Ellis

    10th August 2011

  8. Costs Lawyer v Costs Solicitor – I know which one I prefer, (the latter).

    Anonymous

    11th August 2011

  9. What costs related courses does the ‘costs solicitor’ have to pass?!

    Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    11th August 2011

  10. Good GCSE’s and A levels, a Law Degree, (including an advocacy exam), an LPC, (including an advocacy exam), and a training contract, (actually working on a PI file as well as costing it), + all the paralegal work experience needed to obtain a TC these days.

    I’m not going to get into a debate about the quality of ACL’s route to qualify as a cost lawyer, what has been said before on this blog is still relevant today.

    Most solicitors specialising in costs were cost draftsman prior to qualification, (albeit not registered with the ALCD). So you get the best of both worlds when instructing/hiring a costs solicitor.

    Anonymous

    11th August 2011

  11. So that would be none then?! Sorry, are you a ‘Costs Solicitor’ or a Politician?!

    Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    11th August 2011

  12. (1)Typical costs draftsman type answer, you need to understand a training a solicitor recieves. (2)Not a politician but a Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    Anonymous

    11th August 2011

  13. Considering most solicitor clients I deal with have virtually no knowledge of costs, I would definately rather have a proper experienced costs draftsman dealing with my costs – not a solicitor! Clearly solicitor training does not help a solicitor to understand costs!

    Patrick

    12th August 2011

  14. Unless he is a solicitor specialising in costs!

    Anonymous

    12th August 2011

  15. If it was a solicitor specialising in costs, he’d have the same experience in costs as a costs draftsman…

    Patrick

    13th August 2011

  16. At the back end of June I attended a detailed assessment here in Leeds. I am Costs Draftsman (in house) and was against a solicitor. The hearing went very much our way, largely because the solicitor on the other side on many occasions throughout the day misunderstood basic costs rules and cases, argued matters the wrong way and ultimately lost the case for her client.

    The reason for my story is that we were at risk on this case, had we been against a better opponent (someone who understood these matters more clearly and had a clue about how to successfully argue them) there was a good chance we would have lost. (before anyone asks we were there on the client’s instructions against our adivce). The reason for our win was solely down to the poor costs knowledge of the solicitor on the other side.

    I am not convinved that a solicitor’s training, whilst certainly difficult and thorough, makes any difference when it comes to costs litigation. The practical understanding of costs that a solicitor requires to be a solicitor (such that he/she would acquire whilst training) is very different to the understanding of costs that a Costs Lawyer/Draftsman needs. In my opinion the training received by a solicitor does not equip him/her better than the training a costs lawyer or draftsman receives. The solicitor would still need to learn the intricacies of costs litigation the same as the rest of us and would be no better off having trained as a solicitor, save for a better understanding of files from a solicitor’s point of view.

    CostsLeeds

    16th August 2011

  17. You were obviously not against a solicitor specialising in costs….How many cost draftsmen does it take to understand a simple post: ‘If it was a solicitor specialising in costs’ then his costs knowledge COMBINED with his formal training is by far superior.

    Anonymous

    23rd August 2011

  18. You know you are using an argument when you have to SHOUT words like COMBINED……

    Truly Eminent Costs Professional

    24th August 2011

  19. …or trying to explain a very very simple point to a cost draftsman

    Anonymous

    25th August 2011

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