Those three firms have
all seen four cases through the PCC since it adopted new
guidance on costs and other procedural aspects in 2010.
McDaniel and Lupton are both regional, full-service firms
– not IP specialists and not names that international
IP owners are likely to know.
Withers & Rogers is a top-notch attorney firm, and
lawyers Wragge & Co follow just behind on three cases. Most
interestingly, almost every large firm of solicitors has been
involved in at least one case: Hogan Lovells, DLA Piper, Taylor
Wessing, Bird & Bird, Eversheds, Field Fisher Waterhouse,
Bristows, Olswang, Redd, Simmons & Simmons; plus top
attorney firms such as Carpmaels & Ransford and Potter
Of course, not all disputes before the PCC ever see the
courtroom. Some do not receive a citation number and
therefore don't appear in our
database of PCC cases. In our
cover story this month on the PCC (right), Paul Walsh
of Bristows says he has had seven cases involving the PCC, but
only one of them made it to court.
The question is, which of these international law firms will
find it is worth building up expertise in the PCC, given the
usually lower rewards on offer? While litigants will often pay
their counsel more in fees than the £50,000 cap on costs
awards, the work is always going to be less profitable than
work before the High Court. The argument for investing in a PCC
practice has to be that developing a reputation there will lead
to a large volume of work – and a steadier income
– than big-ticket cases litigated elsewhere.
Wragge and Withers & Rogers both say they have made a
conscious decision to invest partners' time in the PCC, and
their cases reflect that. Both also mention that although the
work is less profitable, the number of potential cases is
attractice. But no law firms apart from Wragge were as emphatic
when they talked to us about PCC work, and no attorney firm
comes close to Withers' activity.
Solicitors in particular have commented to me that the
expected promotion of Judge Colin Birss to the High Court is
making them hold back a little. He has been so instrumental to
the Court's success that it is hard to feel confident that it
will be as effective if he goes. He pointedly did not answer
our question about succession in the
interview with him this month.
Whether Birss stays, or whoever his successor, this
year is the crucial time to develop a reputation for PCC work.
Lawyers and attorneys alike may regret not taking that
opportunity if the PCC goes on to fulfill its great
PCC database can be seen
here. Click on the table to enlarge.
cover story on the PCC, including our interview with Judge
Birss and three articles giving practical advice on how to make
the best of the new procedures, can be seen