A firm of legal costs specialists, which began life with two experienced costs lawyers advising just one client, has increased its turnover by 500% and now employs more than 20 people – less than four years after its inception.
Bristol-based Paragon Costs Solutions, which advises national and international clients, has undergone rapid growth since being formed by costs lawyers Nick Lee and Claire Tomlin in 2011.
The provision of advice to several Top 100 law firms, international banks and leading insurance companies has led to the firm doubling its revenue in the past year and increasing its team of specialist costs lawyers, draftsman and support staff.
Managing director Nick says: “Historically we were only involved at the end of any litigation where an order was made for one party to pay another’s costs. Costs management has meant we now work with our clients throughout the course of the litigation, requiring an in-depth knowledge of their practice area. Our work includes preparing and advising on costs budgets, conducting Costs Case Management Conferences (CCMC) and dealing with the well-known costs assessment process – including any advocacy.
“Whether it’s a multi-million pound personal injury claim or related to complex banking and finance litigation, a detailed costs budget needs to be presented in such a way that it provides the required level of accurate information to maximise the amount which is agreed or approved by the court.
“Our focus on building long-term relationships with clients has led to continued and increasing instructions in a number of practice areas, including clinical negligence, property litigation, private client disputes and professional negligence. This has created an opportunity for us to shape our recruitment strategy around the needs of our clients to ensure they receive advice from genuine specialists.
“The growth of Paragon Costs Solutions has also been reflected in the firm’s recent rebrand, with a new website and updated marketing collateral providing a visual representation of how our values, culture and ethos have evolved since we started.”
In April 2013, Sir Rupert Jackson, a senior judge at the Court of Appeal, introduced a series of reforms aimed at reducing the cost of civil litigation to a proportionate level - a concept now being implemented through costs management. Nick acknowledges the impact the reforms have had on the legal sector.
He says: “The aim of the Jackson Reforms was to create a more efficient, proportionate and fair system for resolving disputes. There was a general acceptance within the legal sector that the costs of litigation needed to be controlled, but many solicitors now feel concerned that the new regime has in fact increased uncertainty both in terms of the conduct of their matters and costs.
“The reforms have undoubtedly changed the legal landscape as well as dividing opinion. Some solicitors say they have found it difficult to adjust to the new system, admitting they find providing accurate cost budgets challenging.
“Effective costs management calls for solicitors to work closely and collaboratively with experienced costs specialists who have an understanding of litigation issues, meaning the role of a costs lawyer has never been more important.”