Barrister firm targets cases PI lawyers plan to abandon

McKie: CMC model no longer fit for purpose

Personal injury law firms are abandoning clients and discarding winnable cases to the pressures of operating in the market, a barrister-run law firm has claimed.

Barrister-Direct has launched a new service to offer solicitors a second look on files they are planning to close or abandon, and take them over if it considers them viable.

If the claim is successful, firms recover their costs and any disbursements received and owing to them.

Andrew McKie said its Resolve service was also for credit hire agencies, medical reporting organisations and after-the-event (ATE) insurers.

He said that, in a recent audit of one personal injury firm’s caseload, 52% of the cases the firm was planning to close were potentially winnable. Reasons for closure ranged from prospects to resources to procedural or factual complexity.

Mr McKie said: “It is common knowledge that many law firms have found themselves unable to cope with the changes to the personal injury marketplace and are overly reliant and exposed to the RTA model, which will become defunct in April 2019.

“To make matters worse, the claims management company business model is no longer fit for purpose.

“It is over-reliant on simply supplying a lead to a law firm and then slipping into the background. Unfortunately, this means that some claims which are complex and difficult often end up with PI firms that lack experience in that area or do not have the litigation funding or ATE cover to fund these claims to trial.”

Mr McKie said the Resolve service acknowledged that, “in the current legal landscape, firms cannot afford to write off bad debt and cannot afford not to recover costs and disbursements”.

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