SALRC conference: Paper on The evolution of legal services – legal costs in the bigger picture of today’s realities

From 31 October to 2 November 2018, South African Law Reform Commission hosted the International Conference on Access to Justice, Legal Costs and other Inventions in Durban. Members of the South African Judiciary, the Department of Justice, other government organisations, the various professional bodies, academia, attorneys, advocates, NGOs, international experts and management consultants, like KOHMAP convened to discuss issues pertaining to the regulation of the South African legal sector. On 1 November 2018, the Legal Practice Act came into force as another step towards better Access to Justice: “the aim of introducing the LPA [Legal Practice Act] is to ensure that legal services are accessible and affordable to most South Africans”.

KOHMAP director Ignaz Fuesgen was invited to present his paper and speak on “The evolution of legal services – legal costs in the bigger picture of today’s realities” (paper | presentation). It is the author’s firm belief that the debate needs to move away from an input-driven perspective towards an output-focused view. Does a client receive the legal service that is required and appropriate to address his or her legal need and, as importantly, is the service affordable?

The paper intends to demonstrate the relationship between costs, revenue and value, linking internal (service generating) resources to external (value-adding) outputs. The model referred in the paper has been developed and is used in trainings for solo practitioners, small and large law firms in South Africa to achieve a better understanding of today’s client requirements and its impact on practice management.