With the ever changing legal landscape and the seemingly relentless attack on the PI sector, it is becoming ever difficult to ensure that client care remains at the forefront of any case.
Of course client’s are kept updated and cases are progressed as swiftly as possible, but gone are the days when we could discuss matters with our clients without the ever pressing concern that we are working for (almost) nothing.
With fixed fees and deductions from client damages we are operating in a slick legal landscape which is in some ways akin to a factory production line. Time is of the essence and calls to clients are kept to a minimum and it is sad that in most of our cases, we will never truly establish the client-solicitor relationship of old.
I used to know my client’s names and those of their children and whilst I accept inter partes costs did not cover such discussions, nonetheless it was nice to feel as though a few moments could be spent building the rapport with each client.
Aside from the above issues, we now of course have the worrying Civil Liability Bill and all that it entails. An individual’s right to access to justice is now being attacked with the sole aim of bringing down Insurer’s costs liability and driving up their profit margins, all the while being disguised as an attempt to eradicate a (non-existent) fraud epidemic and reduce (highly unlikely) our insurance premiums.
If the average man on the street was asked whether he would rather have the very slim possibility of a marginal reduction in his motor insurance premium, or whether he would rather have access to an independent solicitor in the event of an accident I have no doubt he would choose the latter.
I genuinely worry we are at risk of returning to Dickensian days of old when access to a solicitor was for the privileged few.
I joined the legal profession to help people in need and have always fought against injustice in my day to day life, but as with the changes to recoverability of success fees in no-win no-fee cases, I fear the average man on the street does not and will not be aware of the proposed changes until it is too late. Many of my clients were completely unaware of the changes brought about in April 2013 and are quite vocal in their opposition to the same.
I believe in justice for all, regardless of the size of their wallet or the value of their claim.