By David Pipkin FCILEX, NED at Legal Futures Associate Temple Legal Protection
As a lawyer who worked in-house for Temple for over 15 years, I was asked to define what in-house lawyers do. I said they typically work within a specific company or organisation and provide legal advice and guidance to the company’s management and employees. This article is based on my personal experience takes a look at their role and how ATE insurance and disbursement can help.
The role of in-house lawyers can vary depending on the industry, size and structure of the company. Some common responsibilities of in-house lawyers include drafting and reviewing contracts, managing legal disputes, and ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.
It is important for in-house lawyers to stay up-to-date on changes in relevant laws and regulations that may affect the company they work for. The reality is that those rules are diverse and cover a huge range of industries from insurance, banking and manufacturing to charities and local government.
My own role was to direct the Insurance Underwriting division and my legal qualification and experience was critical to this function. By the time I took up this role, ATE insurance had become embedded in the personal injury and clinical negligence claim process. Over the next decade or so, more and more commercial litigation lawyers realised the importance of ATE insurance and funding (especially disbursements) but very few in-house lawyers did so.
In-house lawyers who have a litigation role may need access to funding and ATE insurance for a variety of reasons. Here are some potential reasons:
- Funding: In-house lawyers may need funding to cover the costs of litigation or other legal matters. Litigation can be expensive, and in-house lawyers may need to hire outside counsel, pay court fees, or cover other expenses related to the legal matter. Having access to funding can help ensure that the company can afford to pursue legal action when necessary.
- After-the-Event (ATE) insurance: this can provide cover for legal costs and disbursements in the event that a legal action is unsuccessful. In-house lawyers may also need ATE insurance to mitigate the financial risk of pursuing legal action. If a case is unsuccessful, the company may be responsible for paying the other party’s legal fees as well as their own. ATE insurance can help protect the company from these costs.
- Access to justice: Access to funding and ATE insurance can also help ensure that companies have that all important access to justice. Without access to funding or insurance, some companies may be unable to pursue legal action, even if they have a strong case. This could put them at a disadvantage and prevent them from protecting their legal rights.
In summary, in-house lawyers may need access to funding and ATE insurance to cover the costs of legal action and mitigate the financial risk of pursuing legal matters. This can help ensure that companies have access to justice and can protect their legal rights.
So why have in-house lawyers come late to the party?
Is it because their organisation feels they will lose control of the litigation, or do they feel they appear weakened if they take up insurance cover – or is it the fear of the unknown? The reality is that ATE insurance can take the risk of losing off the organisation’s balance sheet.
Yes, there is a cost, but the premium is fixed and can be accurately budgeted
At present, financial constraints are causing everyone great difficulties and I have read a number of recent articles urging in-house lawyers to be ever mindful of careful budgeting – whether litigating in-house or with external law firms.
One phrase I have seen a lot is the need to ‘make less go further’. I think most organisations don’t have large pockets to fund litigation (except perhaps the energy companies). ATE insurance not only transfers the risk of litigation but the organisation gains an experienced litigation insurance partner.
Many ATE providers, including Temple, can also provide disbursement funding. Experts are expensive – as are court fees.
Pundits have been saying we can expect to see further rises in the frequency of litigation. With that in mind, do note that ATE insurance and funding can cover the defence of litigation.
To see how an ATE insurance facility can be set up tailored for your organisation’s needs or, if you already have litigation in process, you can explore how ATE can help drive your litigation to a better resolution please visit https://www.temple-legal.co.uk/in-house-counsel/ or email email@example.com