The Future of Law is Changing – Chantry Costs Consultants

The future of law is changing, with new firm structures and different ways of charging. Clients’ expectations are changing causing increased fee pressures. The number of clients challenging a law firm’s fees has increased. The introduction of fixed fees reduced the amount that law firms recover in personal injury cases. When you add the proposed extension to the fixed fee scheme in litigation, there are a lot of pressures on a lawyer’s fees and a lot of uncertain times ahead.

I established Chantry Costs Consultants in 2012 to assist solicitors, businesses, or individuals with the costs arising from litigation.

The usual rule in litigation is that the unsuccessful party pays the legal costs of the successful party. If someone is involved in litigation and has a costs award in their favour, I help them recover the costs from the opposing party. This includes drafting the required legal documents and advising on the level of costs that can be recovered. Alternatively, if a costs award is made against someone, I can help them seek to reduce the amount they will have to pay.

I wanted my consultancy to reflect my values and operate differently. Having worked for several large legal firms I wanted to take a different approach, more client-centred, one less restricted by rules and processes. Every client is different, with individual needs and priorities. I wanted to establish a service with the relationship with the client at its centre.  A firm where the services could be adapted to suit the requirements of the individual clients, not be restricted by the processes and charging structure.

I developed my business over the last nine years working in costs litigation involving a variety of practice areas, including personal injury, medical negligence, property litigation, commercial litigation, and judicial review matters.

I have enjoyed helping different firms and individuals and appreciated the flexibility consultancy offers in bringing work-life balance with my young family. Unfortunately, things are about to change.

The government recently announced that they are changing the regulations around legal costs.  They are increasing the number of cases where the fees recovered from the losing party are a fixed amount. This change will drastically reduce the number of people who require help with the costs of litigation and presents a huge challenge for all legal costs businesses.

In response, I have adapted and pivoted my business and increased the services that I offer.

Given the changing legal landscape and the additional pressures on fees, it is no longer enough to simply do some work and bill your client, without being accountable for how time is spent.

I provide training and consultancy services to help firms optimize their fees and to help firms address some of the difficult questions around pricing. These issues include whether to charge hourly rates or offer fixed fees.

I assist firms to give accurate estimates to clients and calculate fixed fees. I support them to ensure that their pricing structures are working efficiently and ensure they are not undercharging.

Whilst the changes to the regulations have posed challenges to the legal costs industry, I am looking forward to helping my clients in different ways.

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