ACL Training – the training arm of the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) – has appointed Madeleine Jenness as its new head of education ahead of the relaunch of its qualification this autumn.
Ms Jenness joins from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, where she was a senior professional development manager.
The new training course comes hand in hand with reforms being introduced by the regulator, the Costs Lawyer Standards Board (CLSB), which are currently awaiting approval by the Legal Services Board.
These would reduce the amount of qualifying work experience required from three years to two and enhance the flexibility and periods of study. Once the CLSB’s changes are approved, it can then consider ACL Training’s application for its new course to be accredited.
ACLT is aiming to create a fast-track and modular approach to the qualification that could allow students to accelerate their studies and/or only take selected modules. While the latter would not end up with the full qualification, they would receive a certificate for completing particular modules.
Ms Jenness said: “It is an exciting time to be joining ACL Training. All too often, when we talk about legal careers, we focus on the roles of solicitor and barrister, and the training paths to qualify in each. What does not get enough attention are the alternative legal careers available, or the professional qualifications available post-qualification for specialism, of which costs law fulfils both.
“When I couldn’t obtain a training contract, it was as if a door had been closed to me. I had no idea that there were other options I could consider with my Graduate Diploma in Law and work experience until I moved into legal education. The work of Costs Lawyers is hugely important and has the potential to be highly impactful in terms of the delivery of legal services.”
Sarah Hutchinson, chair of ACL Training, said: “Madeleine’s appointment is a crucial one for us as we prepare to relaunch the Costs Lawyer qualification. Her experience – both as a law graduate and a professional educator – is ideal as we look to attract the next generation of Costs Lawyers, a profession that has real potential to expand its role.”
A report by consultancy Hook Tangaza last year, commissioned by the CLSB, said Costs Lawyers could exert a downward pressure on the cost of legal services at a time at a time when large corporate buyers felt they are “out of control”.