Four law firms have so far signed up to a groundbreaking consortium marketing for litigation work that also involves block-rated ‘day one’ after-the-event (ATE) insurance for commercial work.
Caresso Law is a “strategic alliance” whose members are currently national injury and civil liberties firm Hudgell Solicitors, Manchester-based Clear Law, which has both injury and commercial law arms, Bolton injury firm MRH Solicitors and Kent firm Net Solicitors, which has a broad high street practice.
The aim is to have around 10 firms covering commercial litigation, professional negligence, personal injury and clinical negligence.
The main requirement is that they take on the work on a full conditional fee or damages-based agreement basis. Caresso is targeting cases starting at £25,000 and worth up to £5m.
It is supported by Eightfooted, a company set up purely for this purpose by technology and legal investor Lee Jones, who has a background in insurance, claims and more recently mobile telephone networks.
Mr Jones stressed to Legal Futures that this was not a claims management company. The firms run Caresso as a joint venture, using the name under licence from Eightfooted.
The company – which is also party to the joint venture – provides the marketing, website and other technology in return for a percentage of recovered profit costs.
Initially the technology is in the front end to help manage instructions, but Mr Jones said in time it would become “more revolutionary in how we assess claims”.
A full marketing mix is likely, with a deal already struck with Sky TV, and Mr Jones said he has retained three advertising agencies, two marketing agencies and in-house digital staff.
This is not third-party funding, but Mr Jones has arranged block-related, deferred and contingent ATE with leading legal expenses insurer ARAG.
Practice funding is available, however, provided by Mr Jones or two other funders, one of which is Doorway Capital, which owns national law firm Simpson Millar.
One of the Caresso firms will be targeting low-value personal injury claims following next April’s reforms.
Mr Jones said this work would not be “as profitable as we might always like it to be”, but offer the service would “enhance” the brand.
He argued that the Caresso approach offer “a simpler path to pursue justice”.
He explained: “By negating the up-front investment required to present a case for external funding – and even more importantly insurance – frictional costs are mitigated and the matter can proceed faster, in a more streamlined manner, with the strategic advantage of having put insurance in place at the earliest possible stage.”
David Haynes, underwriting and marketing director at ARAG, said: “Many individuals and smaller businesses with well-founded claims are prevented from pursuing their legal rights because they cannot fund their case.
“Caresso Law is offering an entirely new solution that will reduce both the risk and cost of seeking justice.”