Part 44 of the Civil Procedure Rules sets out the general rules about costs, including the rules on Proportionality when conducting detailed assessment, as well as the factors which should be taken into account when deciding the amount of costs, dealt with under CPR 44.4. At detailed assessment, the pillars of wisdom, found under CPR 44.4(3) are often also taken into consideration when considering the total amount allowable, particularly in relation to hourly rates.
CPR 44.3 and Proportionality
CPR 44.3(5) states that “Costs incurred are proportionate if they bear a reasonable relationship to (a) the sums in issue in the proceedings; (b) the value of any non-monetary relief in issue in the proceedings; (c) the complexity of the litigation; (d) any additional work generated by the conduct of the paying party; and (e) any wider factors involved in the proceedings, such as reputation or public importance.”
This rule of proportionality is of high importance when drafting your Bill of Costs. Factors of proportionality are very often raised in an opposing parties Points of Dispute; therefore, it is essential that all parties know how to approach proportionality when it comes to detailed assessment.
The Court of Appeal provided some very useful guidance on proportionality in the case of West v Stockport NHS Foundation Trust & Demouilpied v Stockport NHS Foundation Trust  EWCA Civ 1220 . In section 9 of this case, it was clarified that , although the typical factors of CPR 44.3(5),(which states that costs should bear a reasonable relationship to certain factors) should be taken into consideration, CPR 44.4(1) should also play a part in our approach to proportionality.
It was stated in this case that certain elements, such as Court Fees, VAT and costs of preparing the bill, should not be included in proportionality reductions as they were considered “fixed and unavoidable.” It was, however, stated that Solicitor and Counsel fees were to be controlled by the test of Proportionality.
Section 10 of the case provides guidance on approaching issues of proportionality in a detailed assessment of costs. It stated:
“First, the judge should go through the bill line-by-line, assessing the reasonableness of each item of cost. If the judge considers it possible, appropriate and convenient when undertaking that exercise, he or she may also address the proportionality of any particular item at the same time. That is because, although reasonableness and proportionality are conceptually distinct, there can be an overlap between them, not least because reasonableness may be a necessary condition of proportionality:”
CPR 44.4 (3) – The Pillars of Wisdom
The rules set out in CPR 44.4 (3) have came to be known as the pillars of wisdom. They are often used in parties’ Points of dispute to justify aspects of their costs, such as hourly rates. This section of CPR 44 states that the Court will take into consideration:
“the conduct of all parties,… the amount or value of any money or property involved, the importance of the matter to all the parties, the particular complexity of the matter or the difficulty or novelty of the questions raised, the skill, effort, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved the time spent on the case, the place where and the circumstances in which work or any part of it was done, and the receiving party’s last approved or agreed budget.”
In the case of Merrix v Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust  EWHC B28 (QB) (13 October 2016), Judge Lumb explained that this section of CPR 44 should “be taken into account when deciding the amount of costs to be allowed apply both at the budgeting and assessment stages.”
He further commented that “as the tests are applied at different times when considering different documents (a budget and a bill) there is no certainty that they would produce identical results.”
How Can Legal Practice Support Assist?
The Legal Practice Support team are always happy to help with any costs issues, and our Costs Director, Robert Collington, can be contacted via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone on 01204 930234.
If you would like to find out more information on preparing your bill of costs, or the process of detailed assessment, have a look at these sections on our website. Feel free to have a look at our legal costs section to find out more about out legal costs services.
In addition, if you would like any information on how your Proclaim system can be developed to track proportionality of your costs, or to assist with with the preparation of the new electronic bill of costs, get in touch with our Head Proclaim Developer, James Denby, via e-mail on email@example.com.Read More
Which Law Firm Marketing Strategies are Most Effective?
It is essential to have a marketing plan in place when promoting your law firm, to attract new, prospective clients. There are many different law form marketing strategies, and some online marketing strategies will work better for your business than others, depending on the size of your firm, and your practice areas. Carrying out each strategy and analysing the results is the only way to really know which strategies work best.
Law practices and legal service providers can implement a range of different marketing strategies. We always recommend the use of a combination of different strategies, so that optimal results can be achieved. The results of each strategy should then be analysed so that more attention can be focused on the strategies that work best.
We have shared a list of strategies below, which we have found to be the most effective ways of attracting our client’s target audience, and improving lead generation through use of different marketing efforts.
Your Firm’s Website
The most important element in your online marketing strategy is having a great website.
A website can tell you a lot about a company. Potential clients will feel a sense of distrust in your firm if your website is slow and badly designed. They will also gain an unprofessional impression of your company. You should, therefore, ensure that you have an engaging and attractive website design, which is responsive and updated regularly. Your website should be informative and represent your company well.
The marketing team at Legal Practice support are experienced in creating and designing high-quality, responsive websites, and have created many bespoke websites for our clients, which have effectively met their firm’s needs. We also provide advice to our clients on how to improve their firm’s current websites.
Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a great method of driving traffic to your website. It is a process which helps your website rank higher in search engines. Optimisation of all content on your website, including service pages and blog posts will assist in increasing your website’s rankings within search engine results. Having a fast, responsive website, and building backlinks to your website can also help boost your SEO. The experienced marketing team at Legal Practice Support provide a range of SEO services, which help many law firms, and legal service providers, to rank higher on a google search results page, or any other search engine page.
Creating original content for your website is a fantastic way to generate brand awareness and target potential clients. Creating original content for your website, such as interesting, informative blog posts, service pages, and videos, will boost the SEO ranking of your website, and increase traffic to your site. Legal Practice Support Marketing specialise in helping your law form get noticed by providing SEO friendly articles and blog posts, which you are free to use on your company website, or social media pages.
Social Media Marketing
Social media plays a huge part in most people’s everyday lives, which is why it can play a vital part in your marketing strategy.
Having a social media presence in the form of a Facebook page, or Twitter account, can be great for increasing brand awareness. It can also help to increase your SEO rankings, thus, improving your website’s visibility to potential clients. Posting content regularly on your social media page is useful for keeping clients informed and up to date on company policies.
If you share content, such as blog posts, from your website, on your social media page, your followers will also be able to share this content on their pages, further increasing your brand awareness online.
At LPS, we realise social media marketing can be particularly time consuming, which is why we offer a social media management service, so we can do the marketing for you. Have a read of our recent article to find out more about promoting your firm on social media.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay per click can be a particularly effective way of promoting your law firm online, although it can be expensive.
It can be difficult to get noticed using SEO alone, due to the competitive nature of law firms. That being said, the better your SEO strategy, the less need you will have to implement PPC strategies.
PPC is basically a way of paying to advertise online; this could be done using an advertising service on a third party website, or by using social media Ads.
One of the most popular PPC services is Google Ads, whereby advertisers and business owners place a bid for their advertisements to be placed in an optimal position within the search engine results. The highest bidders, with the best content, are usually placed at the top of the search rankings for whichever keywords or phrases they have placed their bid for. All google advertisements have the word “ad” placed beside them and the owner of the ad will be charged a certain amount each time a person clicks on their ad.
The marketing team at LPS are highly competent and have vast experience in using PPC strategies.
How Can Legal Practice Support Assist?
LPS provide high quality marketing solutions for law firms, to increase their online presence, and create increased awareness of their business’ legal services. We can provide free advice on which law form marketing strategies we think could work best for your law firm.
Many of the law firms we assist benefit from greatly improved profitability, as a result of Legal Practice Support creating and developing their marketing strategy.
Please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information, if you would like to discuss how the LPS marketing team can provide legal marketing services to assist your law firm.Read More
Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, many employers are now advising their employees to work from home to help prevent the spreading of the virus throughout the workplace. One of the main challenges that businesses are faced with is the ability to ensure all processes for an employee working remotely, are streamlined in the same way they would be if the employee was working in the office. Law firms using software, such as Proclaim Legal Practice Management solutions, should find the transition fairly simple.
As many law firms still use paper files, they will face difficulties in providing the same level of service to clients when faced with having to self-isolate, due to the risk of contracting Covid 19. As the Proclaim Case Management system is a paperless system, which can be easily accessed from home, business can continue as usual, from the home of solicitors and file handlers.
Eclipse Legal system’s software, Proclaim, is the most popular legal case management system which has been endorsed by the law society and is utilised by many types of legal service providers, including family law practices, conveyancing departments and personal injury claim firms.
One of the main benefits of the Proclaim legal software is that it provides a paperless system, which makes it easier for file handlers as all their files will be accessible from one central database. All information relevant to cases and files can be accessed using the system, limiting the need to take paperwork out of the office.
How Can Legal Practice Support Assist?
Legal Practice Support can provide assistance for law firms in accessing their Proclaim, and other case management systems remotely. We are also experienced in taking out-of -the-box Proclaim legal software and developing it to automate processes and reduce administrative tasks, both of which are of great use when having to work remotely.
Having been active in the Legal IT industry for over seven years, we have invaluable experience managing IT systems for firms as small as 30 people all the way up to enterprise clients with over 300. Furthermore, we are accustomed to working with multiple other stakeholders to resolve any IT problems that might arise.
If you would like to discuss how a Proclaim Developer from the LPS team could assist your law firm, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com for further informationRead More
Many of our clients have come to us for advice on how to promote a law firm on social media. There are many different digital marketing strategies which law firms can incorporate to promote their business online, generating new leads and increasing brand awareness.
Some of the most popular strategies which law firms incorporate into their marketing plan include Paid advertisements, Search Engine Optimisation and, of course, social media marketing. In this article, I will discuss the different social media strategies as well as the many benefits of using social media to promote your law firm.
Benefits of using Social Media for Law Firms
Social media has become so popular in our society that it has now become a part of most people’s everyday life. Pretty much everyone now has a Facebook page which is why using Facebook as your social media platform of choice, to promote your business, would probably be a great way to attract your target audience.
Social media marketing for lawyers can be an extremely useful way of attracting potential clients, through increased brand awareness. Having more exposure online will, in turn, lead to more inbound traffic to your website and provides your law firm with more opportunities for conversion.
One of the best reasons for using social media channels to promote your firm is that most social media accounts are FREE to use, providing a cheap and effective way to advertise your business online.
Search Engine Optimisation is an invaluable method which can be incorporated to improve search engine rankings. Use of social media marketing has been shown to improve search engine rankings for many businesses; but why is this so important? The ability to rank highly on search engines for keywords, specific to your firm, or practice areas, will drastically increase the amount of traffic to your website!
As there are so many different platforms, you have more options to choose the platform that works best for your firm.
How to Promote a Law Firm on Social Media
You may be aware of the benefits of using social media marketing for law firms, but do you really know how to promote a law firm on social media? I have shared some of the most effective ways to market your firm on social media below:
- Choose the right platform – There are a number of different social media platforms which can be utilised, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Snapchat, giving you the option to choose a platform that works before for you and your law firm.
You could also opt to use a range of social media profiles, over a number of different platforms, to increase your firm’s exposure.
As Law Firms usually deal directly with the general public, we would usually recommend the use of Facebook and Twitter for most clients. The use of LinkedIn can be useful for the promotion of business law, or building relationships with other firms and businesses, which could generate leads through recommendations.
- Create Professional Social Media Accounts – Create trust in your firm’s brand by having a professional appearance across all your social media accounts.
Ensure potential followers know exactly who you are and what you do through use of profile descriptions, listing your contact information and your areas of practice.
You should also have a link to your website and brand your profiles with your company logo on your profile pictures and/or cover photos.
- Content – We believe content is key when marketing your business across any platform. Content will attract new clients to your pages and will keep people interested in your business.
As well as helping with SEO, writing regular articles and blog posts on your website will keep your followers and potential leads interested and engaged, as well as attracting more people to your profiles and websites, increasing your firm’s exposure and brand awareness. Ensure your content is interesting and relevant to your target audience, to keep them interested.
You should also post any accomplishments to your social media accounts, such as awards and client reviews (with their permission), to let more people know just how great your firm is!
Sharing relevant, firm related news articles may also help to engage new potential clients and create more interest in your law firm.
- Engage with your audience – Let your audience know that client service is a priority to your firm. Answer questions and queries from potential clients under posts and on the live chat. Let potential clients know you care!
How Can Legal Practice Support Assist?
LPS provide high quality Social Media marketing for law firms, as well as other marketing solutions to increase your firm’s online presence, and create increased awareness of the legal services provided by your business. If you would like more information on how to promote a law firm on social media, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We assist many law firms who benefit from greatly improved profitability as a result of creating and developing their marketing strategy, through use of social media, as well as through the use of SEO and online ad campaigns. The social media services we provide include:
- The creation of social media profiles for your business.
- Management of your social media profiles.
- Creation of regular posts to drive more people to your website and improve your online presence.
- Content creation for your website which can then be shared on your social media profiles.
- Social Media Paid advertisements.
Our marketing team is headed by Stacey Owens, who oversees all marketing projects, to ensure work is completed to a high standard for all clients.
If you would like to discuss how the LPS marketing team could assist your law firm by providing legal marketing services, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.Read More
Introduction of a Paperless System
A client recently approached us as they had encountered numerous issues when using paper files to manage their cases. They had no idea on where to start when going paperless, but they had considered using the Eclipse Legal Proclaim system.
The problems encountered by this law firm included an untidy office, a lack of storage room for files, as well as a huge lack of efficiency amongst staff. When referring to old files, the staff in the firm found it both difficult and time consuming to have to go through a mountain of paperwork to find relevant documents.
This firm also feared that loss of paper files through fire, theft, or just through general carelessness leading to staff misplacing documents would present the risk of files being lost forever and impossible to replace.
LPS assisted the law firm to incorporate the Proclaim practice management solution from Eclipse. It is a case management, legal software system which has been endorsed by the Law Society. Following the incorporation of Eclipse Legal Proclaim, we were able to develop their out-of-the-box system and tailor it to meet the needs of the firm. We were able to integrate the system with their third-party IT systems, as well as improving workflows and process automation within their systems to boost efficiency and maximise profits.
The client experienced a range of benefits following the introduction and development of their Eclipse Legal Proclaim system.
All files are now stored securely and can be accessed remotely, so there is now less worry about losing important files and information. Files can be accessed easily and quickly, through use of a fully searchable, central document library and knowledge / precedent store. This reduces the need to search through large amounts of paperwork to find important documents.
Through integration with external parties and IT systems, all processes became more streamlined and efficiency was improved.
They were able to integrate their system with their ATE provider, providing the ability to automatically export data directly into their system, using secure web technologies. They also found the ability to provide MI Reports, by exporting data into excel and PDF formats, extremely beneficial to their firm. More information on the benefits of integrating Proclaim with external parties can be found in our recent article.
How Can we Help?
At LPS, we are skilled in developing and optimising your Eclipse Legal Proclaim system to fit 100% with your business needs. In the increasingly competitive and challenging legal industry, full optimisation of your system is vital for maximising your businesses efficiency.
If you would like to find out more about Proclaim integration and how a Proclaim Developer from the Legal Practice Support team could assist your firm, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com for further information.Read More
The InCase Legal App, created by the firm, InCase, can be integrated with a law firm’s case management systems to keep clients updated on the progress of their claims.
The main benefit of using this app is that it can help with your firm’s levels of customer and client satisfaction levels. Customer services and client satisfaction is a high priority for many law firms as having a good reputation will assist in business growth.
One of the main benefits of using the Proclaim Case Management system is the fact that it can be easily integrated with third party systems, such as the InCase Legal App.
Some of the main features of the InCase Legal app are:
- Use of the app helps Solicitors communicate effectively with their clients – messages, letters and e-mails can be sent to clients instantly.
- It helps clients feel informed throughout their case as they have access to the InCase Legal App at all times.
- Use of the app can improve staff efficiency. As clients are kept updated through the app, this reduces the need for client calls and e-mails requesting updates on their files, meaning file handlers can focus their time on progressing cases.
- Profits can be increased using the app. Client calls and e-mails with questions and update requests can often add to the workloads of file handlers and increase the need for hiring more staff. Use of the app reduces the need for more staff as file handlers can use their time more effectively.
- Incorporation of the app can improve client feedback. As use of the app helps clients feel satisfied by the level of service received by their Solicitor, this will in turn help improve feedback from clients, helping to boost the reputation of the firm.
How Can LPS Assist?
Legal Practice support can assist law firms in the integration of the InCase Legal App with the Proclaim Case Management System. We have recently assisted a personal injury law firm with the integration of this app with their Proclaim system.
f you would like to discuss how to incorporate InCase Legal App into your Proclaim system, or to discuss general Proclaim development, please do not hesitate to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.