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.