Costs teams play a pivotal function in the legal process, assisting lawyers in determining and recovering costs involved in legal matters. While the career path of a practising lawyer is well-known, the progression opportunities within legal costs are much less talked about.
If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this field, this blog will outline the typical career pathway for costs lawyers, from the required qualifications to the key career milestones along the way.
What qualifications are required?
While there aren’t strict educational requirements, a lot of costs specialists have a background in law or finance, whether that be in terms of their undergraduate degree, post-graduate qualifications (like the GDL) or previous professional experience.
There are also costs-specific professional qualifications which can be taken, and those who wish to practise as a Costs Lawyer must have a practising certificate from the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB).
Entry-level costs roles
Stepping into the field, entry-level positions provide hands-on experience. As a Junior Costs Draftsperson or Costs Assistant, you’ll be exposed to the fundamentals of legal costs: tracking billable hours, reviewing solicitors’ and barristers’ fees, and understanding court fees and expert report charges.
The next step
With experience, a costs lawyer or draftsperson will progress senior positions, taking on more responsibility. You might move up into a Costs Negotiator, Senior Costs Draftsperson, Costs Manager or Team Leader role. Day-to-day, you might begin overseeing junior draftspersons, managing larger and more complex cases, or consulting directly with clients and counsel to provide strategic cost-related advice.
Reaching the top
In some cases, ambitious Costs Lawyers or Senior Drafts people who demonstrate strong commercial and leadership skills progress to a leadership position within their firm. These positions come with significant responsibilities and the autonomy to shape the firm’s strategic direction in legal cost management.
Going out alone
Within legal practice, there’s a growing trend for experienced solicitors looking to step away from private practice and become self-employed or move into a consultant position. Some senior costs professionals might follow a similar path, for more flexibility and autonomy and greater earning potential. There are opportunities for these costs lawyers to offer freelance services, provide expert guidance, and impart their knowledge to a broader client base outside of traditional employment.
In conclusion, the journey to becoming a costs lawyer or costs draftsperson requires hands-on experience and steady professional development. It’s a career path that offers not only the intellectual challenge and satisfaction of playing a critical role in the legal system but also a comfortable salary. Whether you’re in the early stages of your career or are thinking about a change in career direction, it’s certainly worth considering the rewarding career of a costs lawyer or draftsperson.
If you’d like to learn more about having a career in legal costs or would like to explore our costs opportunities, get in touch with Jenny Vickerstaff, our specialist in costs recruitment. Call. 03300 245 606 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.