Newsletter – June 2021

From the CEO

There are many ways to measure the success or failure of an organisation. For the legal regulators, a key indicator is how we perform in an assessment that’s undertaken by our oversight regulator, the Legal Services Board (LSB).

Two years ago, the CLSB was failing against 9 of the LSB’s 27 expected standards, putting us at the back of the pack by some distance. Last week, the LSB announced that we are now meeting 26 of the standards and are close to meeting the final one. Far from being left behind, our profession is now leading the way, and rightly so.

The Costs Lawyer profession is small – we know that, we hear it often – but the question is, how can we make the most of our size? It’s not good enough to say that we can’t meet our obligations and keep up with others because we’re small, so we need to get creative and find unique ways of doing things.

Over the last two years we have done just that at the CLSB, by making wholesale changes to our culture, operations and regulatory approach. The LSB’s assessment is the latest indication that those changes are having the impact we hoped for.

In responding to the LSB’s announcement, the CLSB’s Chair, David Heath CBE, said: “This assessment puts the CLSB toward the top of the LSB’s league table, confirming that smaller regulators can be just as effective as their larger counterparts. Our size requires us to be creative and resourceful in finding solutions to problems, and it’s great to see the LSB acknowledging that there is more than one way to meet the standards it sets for the sector.”

We need to be mindful, though, that when it comes to a profession’s size there is a tipping point below which regulation becomes uneconomic and thus inviable. Alongside the improvements we’ve made in recent years, we need to provide a catalyst for the profession to grow, whilst maintaining the high standards that clients expect. Imagine what Costs Lawyers could achieve with both a well-performing regulator and a stable pipeline of talented minds joining the ranks. This is our next priority.

Kate Wellington


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