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Adapting to Changes in Costs Lawyer Qualifications for Future-Proof Talent Acquisition

With mediation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) becoming mandatory across a wide range of small claims, personal injury, and family litigation the need for well trained, experienced Costs Lawyers is increasing. Which is why the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) training scheme is particularly welcome. The course, which has been accredited by the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB) and approved by the Legal Services Board, aims to make costs law qualification easier, quicker, and more accessible while maintain high quality standards. Good news for employers facing a shortage of skilled costs law talent.

Pathways to Cost Law Qualification

The ACL’s pathway to costs law qualification – the Costs Lawyer Professional Qualification – is a part time, online course, open to applicants over the age of 18 and can be completed in just two years. Students will also have to complete two years of qualifying work experience which can be done before, after or during the course. Previously both the costs law qualification and the work experience requirement took three years to complete.

Trainee Costs Lawyers completing the course will receive a diploma in civil practice, a diploma in costs law and practice and an award in costs advocacy. Applicants with law degrees or other legal qualifications can complete individual modules, as can those who want to expand on specific areas of their costs expertise, or those who are unable to commit to the full course.

The first cohort of qualifying students on the ACL’s training scheme began in September 2023 and will graduate in 2025. And, while this is currently the only costs law qualification approved that meets the new training rules outlined by the regulator, we can expect more courses to be offered in future.

What the Costs Lawyer Qualifications Mean for Employers

Easier ways to obtain costs law qualifications are not only good news for trainees and professionals but are promising for employers as well. These updates streamline pathways to qualification, easing the recruitment and talent acquisition process for employers by giving them:

  1. Access to a More Diverse Talent Pool
    Improved pathways to qualification makes it easier for younger people and those who had previously overlooked a legal career to enter the profession, as the streamlined process reduces the time and financial burden traditionally associated with qualification. This accessibility can attract fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the field from those with diverse backgrounds and experiences.The revised qualifications also open doors for professionals from other areas of law to specialise in costs law more easily. This means that lawyers with expertise in various legal domains, such as criminal law, corporate law or intellectual property law, can now pivot towards costs law without undergoing extensive retraining.
  2. A Greater Ability to Meet Increased Demand
    As ADR methods gain prominence in the UK legal system thanks to their efficiency and cost-effectiveness, there’s a corresponding rise in the need for professionals well-versed in costs law to navigate these proceedings. By offering improved pathways to qualification, employers can ensure a steady influx of qualified costs Lawyers to meet this demand.The availability of a larger pool of qualified applicants allows firms and legal departments to scale their teams according to the demands of their workload, ensuring that they can efficiently handle the changing needs of clients associated with increased ADR usage.
  3. Better Access to Key Skills
    Increased use of ADR methods, such as arbitration and mediation, in dispute resolution, requires Cost Lawyers equipped with the expertise to handle these processes effectively. By modernising the qualification pathways for Costs Lawyers, employers can be sure that newly qualified professionals possess the skills and knowledge needed.The modular format of the course also means that it’s easy for legal professionals to expand their skillsets and acquire new expertise. Employers should be encouraged to offer opportunities for trainee cost Lawyers to gain their work experience with them while qualifying and to allow their existing staff to upskill using the ACL qualifications.

Costs law has always held an important place in the life of law firms, despite its modest reputations. As the profession becomes more prominent thanks to ADR and other factors, it’s important that young legal talent has ways to qualify that effectively meet their needs as well as those of law firms.

Clayton Legal has over 25 years’ experience helping clients attract and retain legal talent across practice areas that include Property, Personal Injury, Family, Criminal, and Costs law as well as Legal IT and Civil and Commercial Litigation.

If you are building your legal team, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

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Posted By

Lynn Sedgwick

Managing Director