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Paragon Training Academy

View profile for Nicholas Lee
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“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
― Albert Einstein

On 1 June 2015 Paragon launched its new Training Academy.

The trainees, most of whom are law graduates, are part way through a structured programme to ensure they understand all the basic principles of costs law which can then be applied to their work in order to achieve the best results for our clients.

The programme has been focused on self-learning, a skill that every lawyer requires for the duration of their career. They have been set projects and assignments to complete individually or as part of a team and have then been required to give presentations on the particular subject. This process encourages our trainees to properly understand the issues, think for themselves and provide presentations in a clear and concise manner.

The training programme has been designed and implemented by our Practice Area Specialists who are all experienced Costs Lawyers.

In week one our trainees were set challenges around understanding:

  • Contract law
  • The standard & indemnity basis
  • The Civil Procedure Rules
  • The indemnity principle
  • Part 36
  • Additional liabilities
  • The Jackson Reforms
  • Detailed assessment procedure

These are the key and basic principles to be understood prior to undertaking the role of a Costs Draftsman. During week one the trainees have been researching and examining the relevant legal authorities and how they apply in practice.

In week two the trainees moved on to more practical training which included:

  • Preparing bills of costs
  • What is recoverable
  • When should a bill be split
  • Interim statutory invoices
  • Authorities for having costs assessed
  • Summarily assessed costs
  • Disbursements

They were tasked with preparing a bill based on a dummy file which was then scrutinised and compared with the original bill prepared by a Costs Lawyer. This process has been repeated until the bills were prepared to the same high quality as the Costs Lawyer.

Week three introduced:

  • The Court of Protection
  • Solicitor own client assessments
  • Points of Dispute & Replies
  • Negotiations and the making of offers
  • Interest on costs

In week four the trainees moved on to performance and finance based training to include:

  • Time recording
  • Client and disbursement ledgers
  • Understanding WIP
  • Realisations
  • Cash-flow (and those all important interim payments)

After spending 4 weeks in intensive training, away from the team, they have now been integrated with the rest of Paragon Costs. They are all assigned to a Practice Area Specialist who will coach and supervise them through the early stages of their careers.

MD Nicholas Lee said “We are very excited about the future of our business and we have to ensure that throughout this journey we always strive for excellence. This training programme will help to breed the next generation of specialist Costs Lawyers that will deliver excellence”.