London, 14 July 2016: A survey released today by Legal Cost Finance reveals that over 90% of UK lawyers are forced to put the brakes on cases at least fortnightly because of clients lacking in funds for their legal costs. Furthermore, it is estimated that over 30% of consumers needing legal support are not even making the first step in appointing a lawyer, in fear of what the costs might be and how they will be settled.
As a result, Legal Cost Finance has seen client applications for its finance ‘payment plans’ for legal costs soar over the past 12 months from both clients who need finance and from those who like to manage their own cash-flows via convenient methods. The ‘payment plan’ scheme, which enables clients’ legal fees to be covered in affordable instalments, is receiving hundreds of new client applications each week, both directly and via law firm referrals.
Every day, Legal Cost Finance is welcoming new law firms as advocates and providers of the scheme to their clients, as they recognise the dual benefits it offers. Too often, clients have worried about how they are going to foot the bill and lawyers have wondered whether they will get paid on time – and indeed, at all.
Legal Cost Finance is urging more law firms to join forces in order to make ‘payment plans’ for legal costs the norm – just as is the case with other consumer purchases, from dentistry through to cars.
Dr Yuri Rapoport, Founder of Legal Cost Finance, comments:
“The benefits our payment plans bring clients and lawyers alike are demonstrable. For example, the scheme provides law firms with better cash-flow management. This is critical, as we read of law firms waiting an average 94 days to be paid – versus 41 days for all other private and public businesses. Our payment plans are making aged-debt a distant memory. Additionally, the firms accepting of our ‘payment plans’, are welcoming a stream of new clients, eager to pursue a legal matter and knowing they can now comfortably afford to do so.”
In order to enable ‘cost-neutral’ financing solutions to clients, Legal Cost Finance work with lawyers to provide moderate discounts (of around 5%) on their legal fees. Such discounts are proposed in order to cover the underlying credit fees for the initial 12 months, so clients enjoy the convenience of paying by instalments without incurring additional costs.
Legal Cost Finance is particularly relevant with the recent cuts in legal aid. A report recently released by Transform Justice entitled ‘Justice denied? The experience of unrepresented defendants in the criminal courts’, warns that ‘…justice is in danger of being denied to some…who do not qualify for legal aid’. It claims that 25% of defendants going to court are now unrepresented, and that a person who is unrepresented stands a 15% chance of getting a longer sentence or a worse outcome than if he was represented.
Dr Rapoport concludes:
“Whilst much needs to be done at various levels to overcome the barrier a lack of funds can have on a client’s access to justice, we are proud to be making a step in the right direction through our ‘payment plan’ scheme.
“The legal industry should be no different from any other sector in terms of how people or businesses can cover their bills. In fact, what is more important than being able to afford access to justice? You wouldn’t be asked to pay for a house up front and car sales would dip significantly if you had to pay for the vehicle in full before you were handed the keys. So why should legal costs be any different?”
“Our intention is to help, not exploit, and many individuals and businesses have already reaped the benefits by being able to cover their legal costs. Ultimately, this means they have access to justice in getting the right advice and appropriate representation.”
Through an extensive marketing, PR and social media campaign, Legal Cost Finance will be raising awareness of its scheme among consumers and corporates.
In return for a firm’s commitment to support and promote Legal Cost finance, and at no charge, Legal Cost Finance will provide firms with a range of promotional branding to alert existing and new clients of the firm’s acceptance of the Legal Cost Finance ‘payment plan’.