Costs, funding and software specialists have combined to launch the first legal costs application for smartphones.
The app, iCosts Mobile, costs £4.99. It takes estimates of budgeted costs, disbursements and damages, and compares the financial outcomes under various retainers: a standard hourly rate, conditional fee agreement (CFA), damages-based agreement and hybrid CFA.
It is the precursor to iCosts.NET, web software which will be launched later this year to build on the information delivered by the app, enabling solicitors to plan for different scenarios, link the calculation to the case file, record the calculation for review, documentation and reporting, and help firms understand the additional WIP exposure that any new case presents.
It is the brainchild of costs lawyer Edward Strickland (who is separately a director of Thomas Legal Costs), Ben Hawkins (managing director of Commercial Litigation Funding Ltd) and software developer Oliver Kemmis.
Mr Strickland pointed to warnings from the Legal Services Board and others about the dangers of mis-selling legal services in the post-LASPO world. “A transparent discussion is a must,” he said.
Mr Hawkins added: “The profession is worried about conflicts of interest [around different retainers] but litigators also want to make sure that they get the economics of litigation right. ICosts enables litigators and clients to compare their respective financial outcomes in a transparent way and agree the most appropriate retainer type for any case.”
Mr Kemmis said the idea had developed from work he was doing to simplify comparison data in the investment and finance markets. “Analytics are vital for many firms and we think the product will prove just as important to law firms.”