My Dad has a saying, 'You never see a farmer on a bike'.
To explain his ramblings, he thinks all farmers are rolling in it (money that is).
It seems that the Government i.e. the Ministry of Justice, think PI lawyers are the same. Why would they think this?
Well, once again it seems, some PI lawyers have managed to shoot the entire profession in the back. In the quest for cases, several firms are advertising inducements to attract clients including up to £2,000 up front.
As with farmers though, all is not as it seems. Will the Government actually look at the substance of these inducements I wonder? They are not costing the solicitor much money and they are certainly not being funded out of the costs being earned on cases. The MoJ think that the £2,000 is being paid IN ADDITION to the damages awarded to clients when all they are doing is advancing some of the damages then deducting the money when the full damages arrive. It is just cash flow - a clever marketing tactic. These inducements only apply quite late on when liability has been agreed and the case is progressing nicely.
Now personally, I don't agree with inducements as it makes lawyers look desperate and appears a little unsavoury. Fine - let's ban them then - but don't go shouting that this is evidence that PI lawyers are rolling in it. They aren't. Proof of this is the massive consolidation going on in the market, file sales and closures. The number of PI firms is reducing with many well known players either selling up or merging.
Once again it seems we have individuals in the Ministry of Justice who simply do not understand the industry. To assist them to understand they listen to the whisperings of the Insurance Industry - maybe at yet another tea party where the invites for the claimant industry strangely being lost in the post. Who knows. What is apparent is that they are not happy to stop with the Jackson reforms and slashing fixed costs. Further legislation may be afoot.
The only pin-prick of light at the end of the tunnel is the election looming in politicians' sights next year. Will this Government press on with the changes? Will they win another term? Let's hope not. Problem is of course, although PI lawyers may cry fowl, even if all of them voted against the Government, it wouldn't make a blind bit of difference as there aren't many of them left. Still worth a try though eh?
I know several PI lawyers who cycle to work. Says it all really.