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Updates, Insight & Analysis


How to maximise cost recovery – FROM THE START

Mar 10 2017

Most Law Firms involve their Costs Draftsmen when the legal work is concluded. The Draftsmen receive the case and prepare the bill using what is on the file. Hourly rates get adjusted, time gets added or removed and the final bill is prepared for the client to approve. The negotiations start and conclude.

This is the standard process but there is an alternative.

The Challenge

Cost Draftsmen are regularly presented with client files where the time on the Case Management System (CMS) is different to that on the file. The typical issues a Draftsman face is to: -

1.      Establish who has worked on the file and ensure their hourly rate is correct 
2.      Find all of the chargeable time and identify what has been missed off the time recording system 
3.      Remove the non chargeable time that has been placed on the system, as chargeable, in error

The way the file is presented at the end ‘is what it is’.

A skillful Draftsman will ensure they understand the file, ensure chargeable time and disbursements are recorded properly in the bill and they will prepare a formal bill which ensures the instructing Firm will achieve the best result they can. 
What the Draftsmen cannot do is rectify mistakes from the past. If time has not been charged properly or time has been recorded incorrectly it is too late for the Firm to do anything about it. Missed time can be added into the Bill if the evidence is on the file but incorrect time has to be removed. 

Cost estimates and budgets may have been exceeded and internal income assessments of performance and profitability of the case may be misunderstood. By now it is too late. 
A Firm may be looking at a case with Work in Progress of £100,000, but could it have been £120,000 or should it actually be £80,000? 
Both Firm and Case decisions may have been taken based on the value of the cases in a Firm but are those decision right.

Only if the information is right!

The Alternative – The Consultative Approach

At Civil and Commercial Costs Lawyers (CCCL) we know that a Draftsmen can control costs through the duration of the case. We offer advice and guidance to a Firm on the strategy that should be implemented before cases start and deliver time recording strategies to their legal team to ensure that costs are recorded properly throughout the case.

From advising on the Firm's time recording strategy and providing training to the legal teams by performing file reviews and auditing through the case (not at the end), the service CCCL offers can ensure that Firms do not leave it too late to maximise their Cost Recovery, but actually record their time correctly through the duration of the case.

The Benefits

Providing clear guidance to a Firm’s legal team is paramount. It sets the scene from the start. 
Why should Firms operate with a knowledge that time will be written off. Why not just time record properly from the start through clear guidelines integrated into the Firm's CMS.

Identifying errors in time recording through the duration of the case (we recommend every 6 months depending on case size) will enable:

1.      Mistakes to be identified and rectified

2.      Instructions to be provided to prevent future errors

3.      Provides the Owners of the Firm with a true picture of the potential income the Firm could receive

4.      Enable Case and Firm decisions to be made on reality

5.      Cost Recovery to be not just maximised but correct

The Cost

If a Firm engages CCCL to review a matter through its life cycle, we will be preparing the bill and the budget as the matter progresses. 
Whilst there is additional work, as we will be providing advice on what is found, and the additional expense is actually minimal.

Furthermore the time is chargeable and included as part of the Bill. 
If a Firm seeks to involve CCCL on their Firm wide strategy for time recording, we'll offer a bespoke package to that Firm which will depend on work types, size and current systems.

Costs Management – An Essential Business Tool for Lawyers

Our Service is unique and it is essential.  

Firms can improve their knowledge of the value of their business and put an end to time writing off large amounts of time and missing recoverable costs at the end of the case. 
The future of Costs Drafting as a management tool is the perfect solution to ensuring accurate and maximised cost recovery.

For More information on our service and how we can assist your Firm, contact us on 0207 842 5950 or make an online enquiry.