Law firms using Costs Lawyers more than ever
In the aftermath of the Jackson reforms, Costs Lawyers are seeing an increase in their work as law firms struggle to deal with the complexities of budgeting.
Costs Lawyers are busier than ever as law firms struggle to cope with the intricacies of costs budgeting in ever greater numbers, the annual survey of members by the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) has shown. More than half (53 per cent) of respondents said they have seen a significant increase in demand for costs budgeting advice in the past year, with a further 28 per cent saying it had increased slightly.There are also changes in the way solicitors are using Costs Lawyers. Multi-track work made up 60 per cent of the average firm’s caseload (up from 52 per cent last year), while fast-track PI fell from 22 per cent to 13 per cent.
Questioned on how budgeting was working, some 52 per cent replied that it depended which judge they were before – reflecting concerns expressed by the ACL and others that judicial inconsistency is undermining the regime – while a similar number (53 per cent) agreed that solicitors think they can do it – and 'they're wrong'. Costs Lawyers remain concerned about the impact of the Jackson reforms, however, with 40 per cent saying they have discouraged solicitors from taking on less straightforward cases, and 31 per cent believing that they have tilted the playing field in favour of defendants.
ACL chairman Sue Nash says: 'The Jackson reforms have ushered in a new era for Costs Lawyers – one where they play a critical role in managing costs from the start of a case to the end. It is satisfying to see how many are looking to spread their wings into other areas where their skills and experience – which cover far more than their core costs drafting role – can offer real value to solicitors, their clients and others.'