First4Lawyers in the Media - December 2022

The launch of our eighth annual White Paper has dominated recent media coverage, with research revealing that a quarter of law firms have ditched low-value RTA due to the whiplash reforms.

We interviewed 100 firms – some PI specialists and some with broader practices – for ‘Trust me, I’m a lawyer – Marketing legal services in 2023’. It showed an increasing number of firms, faced with reduced claims volumes and costs, are quitting fast-track RTA and focusing their efforts elsewhere.

Findings were picked up by numerous publications including the Law Society Gazette, Legal Futures, Insurance Business, Insurance POST and a specially-commissioned feature for New Law Journal.   

Our managing director, Qamar Anwar, told journalists: “With the government seemingly intent on pushing through further reforms, the challenges look set to continue, unfortunately. But if PI lawyers have proven nothing else since the waves of change that have hit them since 1999, it is that they are incredibly resilient.”

While further reforms are still on the cards, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has announced a further six-month delay to its planned extension of fixed recoverable costs to most cases worth up to £100k.

We issued quick-fire comment following the announcement, with Qamar quoted by Insurance POST, Legal Futures, Association of Costs Lawyers and a letter published in the Law Society Gazette.

He said: “It was apparent to everyone, apart from the Ministry of Justice it seems, that it would not be ready to implement this in April.

“The whiplash reforms and the resulting fallout which we are still dealing with 18 months in is a clear sign that these decisions cannot and should not be rushed.

“It has forced injured people, the majority of whom find the system too complicated to bring claims without help, out into a legal market where there is now vastly reduced choice because firms can no longer afford to operate with such reduced margins.

“These same issues apply to the extension of fixed costs, and it is this that the MoJ should be focusing on instead of setting yet another arbitrary deadline.”

Following news that the MoJ had conducted its own assessment of the widely criticised Official Injury Claim portal, Qamar also featured in Insurance Times and bagged ‘comment of the week’ in The Legal Diary.

“The report may say it is just an analysis of the OIC’s operational performance, but it clearly goes much further than that. Unfortunately, it is a very one-eyed perspective of what has been happening,” he said.

“The Ministry of Justice has been kicking this can down the road for long enough and must now answer serious questions about the effectiveness of the portal in delivering access to justice.”

Our head of marketing, Andy Cullwick, continues to write a monthly column for Insurance Claims which, as well as the findings from our White Paper, recently focused on the continued poor performance of the portal.

The latest data shows that up to the end of September, just over 350,000 cases had been recorded in the portal compared to an annual average of around 650,000 pre-pandemic. Just 15% of those had been closed, with the average settlement time topping 200 days and still less than 10% of claimants using the system as intended – without the help of a lawyer.

“A full and transparent review of the portal is urgently needed to understand the problems and how to fix them,” he said.

You can read his latest articles here and here.

Elsewhere, Andy offered a guide to understanding Google’s latest, major algorithm update in Solicitors Journal and shared his top tips for improving website performance in a further feature for New Law Journal.


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