Quality law costs draftsmen

Jon Robins had a recent piece in the New Law Journal discussing how deregulation will affect the legal services market.

This examined how consumers choose between providers of legal services and the concept of quality. The article quoted from some comments taken from a recent report by the Legal Services Consumer Panel (Quality in Legal Services, November 2010) including:

Consumer B: “They’re all solicitors and qualified to a similar level, and so it doesn’t matter whether they’re charging you £200 or £800.”

Consumer C: “We put ourselves in their hands and because they’re qualified and they’re professionals, we just hope and presume that they’re going to give us the right information and do the job for us.”

The article commented:

As the researchers noted the search for quality did not strongly influence consumers’ choice of lawyer. “This is bad for competition as it means that good-quality firms are not differentiating themselves from poorer quality rivals,” they concluded; adding that it could lead to “an excessive focus on reducing price” to a level where quality was compromised.

In relation to the issue of various quality marks, Robins concluded:

But if—as consumers B and C imply—people assume all lawyers are competent, then why would they look for quality marks anyway?

Similar problems seem to exist when choosing amongst law costs draftsmen. It is understandable that members of the public might struggle to distinguish between the good, bad and indifferent in the event they need to instruct a costs draftsman. However, surely solicitors and insurers are much more sophisticated when making this decision. Well, all those who work in the legal costs field will be well aware that quality is in short supply and some firms and individuals are much more successful than any measure of “quality” would seem to justify.

How should a solicitor or insurer measure “quality” in a law costs draftsman or Costs Lawyer?

6 thoughts on “Quality law costs draftsmen

  1. Ive found over the years, solicitors adopt the approach, “never miond the quality, feel the width”, big being allegedly better.

    The same seems to be the approach to choosing draftsmen – big = better.

    Personally, I find the opposite to be true.

    Sadly, this also counts for many (many) ACL members – its not the case simply because they are members, they are better, but unfortunately THEY think they are! Cue new speach from the Chairman!!

  2. How about by those who, within their PODs, do not unreasonably or stupidly contest every item / quote large chunks of a receiving party’s Bill just to then agree the item (agreeing an item is not a dispute) purely so that they can then Bill their client more money

    Whilst may charge a lower rate certain organisations drive the amount of work up that they have to do. not good practice in my opinion

  3. Is this not equally true of counsel? One of the biggest names in costs is almost universally regarded by other specialists as third rate. But some solicitors and most draftsman just see a big, confident personality, who’ll argue anything he’s told to argue with total conviction, no matter how hopelesr. And as a result, that barrister must be one of the busiest (and richest) people in the business.

  4. I think a basic requirement would be that the draftsman/negotiator has the full file of papers.

  5. Now now my inferior colleagues – do not pretend to be as all knowing and skilled in costs (aka letter counting) as me!

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