Chief executive Amanda Stevens says the appointment of ‘one of the leading costs specialists in the country’ reflects Hudgell Solicitors’ desire to continue growing and further strengthen its position in the personal claims market.
Jeremy Smith says he is delighted to have joined as head of costs after 11 years with Irwin Mitchell, a role which will see him based in Hudgell’s growing Leeds office.
From there he will oversee the development of a new team of internal costs specialists, which Mrs Stevens says will help Hudgell Solicitors improve efficiency, improve cash-flow and ensure lawyers have a ‘weather eye’ on costs, risk and profitability at all times.
“Our lawyers are very passionate about the people they represent and getting them the best possible outcome in difficult times. That means they are always focused on providing the very best legal representation to clients, and that will never change” said Mrs Stevens.
“However, management of costs recovery has a massive impact on many areas for a firm such as ours, especially given our fees are not recovered until the conclusion of the vast majority of the cases which we are involved in.
“That is a process which can drag on far too long, especially in the face of some pretty complex offers for costs settlements from defendants, and we as a business felt we needed more expertise within our ranks moving forwards, rather than always relying on external experts, which of course comes at extra cost.
“We have a clear strategy to ensure costs are a focus for all across our firm by encouraging an environment where our lawyers don’t leave this vital part of the job until the end of the claims process, but have it in focus from day one and throughout the cases they run.
“Jeremy will play a key role in leading the development of this expertise across the business and he has a proven record of team building in this area.
“He will also be advising and supporting our lawyers, from assessing the potential value and risk of cases from the outset to ensuring we are in the best possible position throughout and when it comes to the costs negotiations at the conclusion.
“This is not something lawyers are taught in law school and through qualification so to have somebody with such expertise in house and accessible will be a huge benefit. Jeremy has a very clear head for detail and technical issues also and we are sure he will prove invaluable to us moving forward.
“We are committed to ensuring we have ever-improving efficiencies across the business and to do so in this area will further strengthen our firm against the backdrop of a challenging industry, improving our case to cash conversion, which in turn puts us in a stronger position to be able to represent more clients who need our expertise as the firm continues to grow.”
Costs specialist excited to be joining Hudgell team
Mr Smith, who trained at Nottingham Law School before joining Irwin Mitchell in 2007, said he was excited at the opportunity to join an ambitious and growing firm, and the chance to work with lawyers who are recognised as specialists in their field.
“This is a really exciting and rare opportunity for me to head up a new costs division at a growing and ambitious firm and I am delighted to have joined such a talented team of lawyers,” he said.
“The aim is to develop a very strong costs team here within the business to not only make efficiency savings in our processes but also by expanding the costs knowledge across the firm, giving us an in-house resource to advise lawyers as and when needed on the cases they are running.
“Costs are a complicated part of litigation themselves, but by improving efficiencies as to how they are managed, making them robust so they always stand up to scrutiny, and by building relationships with those we recover costs from, we can make the process as efficient as possible and avoid delays and issues with regards to costs recovery.
“That will ensure we as a firm are in the strongest possible position to continue growing and developing, which is the aim of all at the business.”