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Costs: An Alternative Career

Last week Michael Green joined us at Duncan Gibbins for a week long work placement. He spent a day on secondment at Tri Star Costs, to gain a view of life within a specialist costs firm. Here we put together some of his thoughts about an interesting day away from the personal injury side of law within a busy costs department.

For Michael’s full article please visit the Tri Star Costs website.

Costs Department

Michael spent a day on secondment at Tri Star Costs

Many of the law students that come through the door at Duncan Gibbins Solicitors for a week of learning have no idea about the costs side of the business. With the competitiveness of a career in law increasing annually it is something that students should consider as an alternative avenue to go down alongside the more traditional routes.

Initially Michael expected to find staff that were linked to the job at hand, primarily working with numbers:

“I anticipated the job to be primarily focused around numbers and thus be mainly run by people who have studied accountancy, or are fully qualified accountants.”

A Career in Law without the Need for any Formal Training

The client in the costs department is the instructing solicitor, asking how much a file is worth by calculating the amount of hours put into each case in order to claim costs from the other side. Every part of procedure is guided by common law and as it is based around proportionality primarily, an understanding of these common procedures is essential to fully appreciate any given scenario you face.

Costs, as Michael found out, is ‘a career which is still heavily involved with law but doesn’t necessarily require any form of formal legal training’.

Michael found that many of the people he met within Tri Star Costs had in fact turned down a training contract in order to continue a career within costs that they thoroughly enjoy. A career within a specialist costs firm is a great way to ensure a legal bases career without the need to follow the route of a training contract or LPC.He added:

“Work experience in the costs department was extremely useful. It has provided me with an extra path to choose if ultimately everything else goes wrong in my current chosen career path.

“It also provides a wealth of commercial awareness.”

By working within a costs department you are not completely closing the door to a career as a solicitor at some point in the future. As well there being the option to become a specialist costs solicitor in the future, there is also the invaluable commercial awareness that all firms of solicitors are keen to see evidence of, thus keeping the door firmly open should you wish to pursue a career as a solicitor at a later date.

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If you wish to contribute your story to the DG Academy, or you have something to say about news and events from within the legal sector, we are always on the look out for DG Academy contributors. The best articles and stories that we receive will be published – which looks good on your CV! Email Beth Nunnington at for more details.

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