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Just Costs Solicitors is hardly your typical law firm. At first sight the limited company that holds itself up as the country’s leading costs recovery business would hardly fit snugly alongside its cousins in The Lawyer’s UK top 200, even if it is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Yet a place among that group of firms is exactly what managing director Paul Shenton is aiming for. And if its current trajectory is anything to go by, then Just Costs may be on the list within a year.
Shenton founded Just Costs in 2006 after running the costs recovery business at Eversheds, where he was a partner for nine years. Shenton is also qualified as a barrister, having completed his pupillage at Hardwicke Building.
Just Costs operates on a calendar year, and in 2007 turnover rose by 50 per cent. Last year it was up 100 per cent to £2m and is now targeting a turnover of £6m by the end of 2010.
The level of growth is attracting interest from potential recruits. In recent weeks Just Costs has made some major hires, such as Nic Edmondson from Financial & Legal Group as commercial legal director and Richard Lees from Wake Smith & Tofields in Sheffield, where he was an equity partner.
Around 95 per cent of the firm’s clients are law firms looking to recover costs, but Just Costs also has a small but growing commercial litigation team.
“A good deal of this work comes from our client base and involves advising on partnership disputes,” says Shenton.
The work occasionally can be extremely high profile. For example, the firm was retained to assist Total UK with cost issues arising out of the Buncefield incident.
“Very few lawyers go into the law to look at costs,” admits Shenton. “But it’s in the top three types of issue that are litigated. When I was at Eversheds I realised there was an opportunity for a bespoke practice specialising in this area.”
With the firm set to open its fourth office - in Leeds - in January 2010, it seems it was a good call.
Managing director: Paul Shenton Turnover: £2m Number of directors (partner equivalent): Three Number of equity partners (equivalent): One Number of lawyers: Eight Number of fee-earners: 41 Number of offices: Three Locations: Manchester, London, Chesterfield Main practice areas: Claimant personal injury, clinical negligence, commercial litigation Clients: Solicitors ranging from sole practitioners to larger firms including ASB Law, Gorman Hamilton, Hilary Meredith Solicitors