There are currently many changes happening to the legal market and businesses seeking legal advice are well advised to shop around.
The criminal legal system is under revolt, with the latest government proposals meaning that the lowest fee quote is likely to win the work. Is cheapest best?
The civil legal system, has been hit by the Jackson reforms. These reforms are likely to restrict the legal costs the parties will be able to recover in court proceedings. Businesses in litigation need to be more cost conscious.
The restriction on costs means that businesses are going to be seeking better value for money from their legal advisors. Many will be shopping around for their legal advice.
SV Legal Opinion:
“The legal profession is the same as any other business. Customers can shop around and decide who they want to spend their money with. The larger firms have vast resources so can invest in top legal talent and spend more money on marketing. They can also charge larger fees. Smaller firms can provide a local and more personal service. Regardless of the size of firm, all providers of legal advice face challenges ahead.”
“The days of the cfa (no win, no fee) are over and the courts are budgeting costs in litigation. The legal market is going to have to adapt. Fixed fees are going to be more common.”
“Litigation can be something of an open cheque. The road to trial can be a bumpy and unpredictable one, so the costs can be difficult to foresee. Lawyers now need to be able to offer a fixed fee or retainer, rather than simply charging an hourly rate. The lawyers will also need to bear the risk and uncertainty of how quickly a matter will go to trial.”
“Before investing money with a solicitor to obtain legal advice, a business needs to test the solicitor to decide whether the firm is value for money and providing the appropriate level of expertise.”
“If fees start to become fixed, it s crucial that businesses ask who will actually carrying out the work and providing legal advice. If fees are reduced, it makes sense that lawyers will seek to find economies themselves. This could mean paralegals or trainees working on files rather than more experienced advisors, such as experienced solicitors. Businesses should always ask who will be carrying out the work and what expertise and experience that person has. If the fee is fixed, a business should be insisting on the best person for the job.”