Taylor Wessing shuts down clinical negligence group

Taylor Wessing shuts down clinical negligence group” />Taylor Wessing has closed its defendant clinical negligence department, which brought in £1m a year, because of the squeeze by insurers on lawyers’ rates.

Partner hourly rates had fallen to between £105 and £135 in the group, following a drop in the number of insurance providers and increased competition among firms for a smaller pool of work.

Taylor Wessing insolvency litigation partner Mike Frawley told The Lawyer: “The medical defence department used to be a very busy sub-group of the litigation team, and was consistently bringing in around £2m-plus. But then the rates were squeezed. The group still produced £800,000 to £1m a year, but it was not cost-effective, particularly as it is labour intensive.”

The firm had been considering leaving the low margin area of work for some time, but took the decision now after the recent retirement of the department’s principal partner Martin Newey.

The firm continues to handle personal injury (PI) work for its 40 or so high net-worth private clients.

The PI market in general has been struggling against low margins, conditional fee arrangements, and the debacle over claims managers. As revealed by The Lawyer this week Merricks, a predominantly claimant personal injury practice, has taken the decision to dissolve. Last year saw KSB Law close its claims unit, making 55 staff redundant, and Palser Grossman bring in management consultants to review the structure of its PI department.