A probe into solicitors' overcharging of construction firms failed after an unprecedented zero complaints were made, NCE can reveal.
Legal Costmastersis a team of barristers and solicitors that investigates overcharging in the legal profession. Last year it appealed to engineering and construction firms to come forward with tales of exorbitant fees (NCE 5 October 2006).
However, none came forward, something that is unprecented in the firm's previous sector-specific investigations, said Legal Costmasters director Gary Smith.
"We always get people coming forward and I don't know why this didn't happen this time, especially as I know overcharging is rife in construction," said Smith.
Smith added that he could guarantee to cut most construction firm's legal costs by one third if advising during negotiations between client and solicitor.
"In many cases all work by the solictor's office is charged at the partner's rate of, say, £300 per hour, yet a large part of it is done by more junior solicitors or administrative staff, so the total fee should be less," said Smith.