Paragon Costs Solutions is delighted to be sponsoring the CILEX Award at the Bristol Law Society Annual Dinner on 18 October. With over 200 Fellows listed in Bristol, this is sure to be a competitive category. As many BLS members will not have come across Paragon before, Nicholas Lee, a Costs Lawyer and Director of Costs at Paragon, takes this opportunity explain a bit about Paragon and what they do.
We are a practice that specialises in dealing with legal costs. Commonly we are involved at the end of any litigation where an order is made for one party to pay another’s costs. We will prepare a detailed bill of costs, deal with any negotiations, prepare points of dispute or replies and attend the detailed assessment hearing where necessary.
We work with a number of Top 100 Law Firms in Bristol and have developed a niche for dealing with costs resulting from high value and complex litigation. We regularly prepare, defend and challenge bills of costs in excess of £500,000. We are frequent and keen Advocates attending before District Judges, Regional Costs Judges and Masters in the Senior Courts Costs Office.
Our team, based in Bristol, consists of experienced and specialist Costs Lawyers and Costs Draftsman. We began working together in 2005, originally providing an in-house costing service. Paragon Costs Solutions officially launched in 2011 and by 2012 we had provided services to a number of law firms, of which 5 were listed in the Top 100. Continued and increasing instructions meant the team has doubled its number of employees within the first year, with further expansion planned.
Whether we are recovering costs or challenging costs, we are committed to achieving the best results possible. We pride ourselves on giving clients open and honest advice from the outset, enabling them to manage their risk and make educated decisions. A solicitor’s service to their client extends to protecting their financial interests in respect of any legal costs. Our aim is to provide those that instruct us with the same level of specialist legal service that they provided their client. We work as an extension of their legal team.
Nicholas Lee heads the Costs Team and has been committed to this area of law since 2001. Nick (as he prefers to be known) created and developed Paragon Costs Solutions and specialises in dealing with costs arising from complex commercial/property disputes, agricultural and construction matters and serious injury claims. He also delivers training seminars and costs surgeries to solicitors to keep them updated in respect of costs law and to prevent them falling foul of the forever changing rules and regulations. He has also written articles for legal publications. Nick enjoys Advocacy and frequently attends before Regional Costs Judges and Masters in the Senior Courts Costs Office.
Claire Bullock is the deputy head and has worked in the costs industry since 2003. Claire has experience of dealing with a broad spectrum of litigation but has particular expertise in the high value, catastrophic injury area. Claire has prepared Bills in excess of £1 million and is often successful in achieving negotiated settlement through straightforward and to the point advice and negotiations. Claire has undertaken an extensive range of Advocacy throughout the UK, from County Courts in Cornwall to the SCCO in London. Claire has a passion for debate and an eye for detail and, as a result, enjoys the challenge and intensity of Advocacy. Claire has been involved in the growth and development of Paragon Costs and is proud of the brand, quality of work and services the team offers.
Our other specialists include Lucy Baldwin who is worked with us since 2008, Elizabeth Elliott who joined us from a London based costs practice in 2011 and Janina Muromceva who also joined us in 2011 from a Bristol based costs practice. Our accounts administrator and excel whizz is Nathan West and we are all kept firmly in check by our very efficient team secretary, Tracy Crocker.
Our Costs Lawyers are regulated by the Costs Lawyers Standards Board. As Costs Lawyers, we are granted rights of audience and the right to conduct litigation relating to costs, under the Legal Services Act 2007. Costs Lawyers will have undertaken a 3-year training course and a written examination. They must also have at least 3 years of practical experience before they can be admitted as a Costs Lawyer. They must then complete a minimum of 12 CPD points each year of which 6 must be specifically costs related.
We will all be attending the Bristol Law Society Annual Dinner and Awards where we look forward to meeting as many of you as possible and of course presenting the CILEX Award.