Westby-based The Legal Costs Experts NW has won legal costs firm of the year for the second year running in the 2022 SME News Legal Awards despite coming up against national firms with 50 to 100 staff.
The firm was started six years ago, by Paul Fulcher, a costs expert and advocate, who has a background managing legal firms.
Paul started had a series of jobs in his teens paying for his board in Blackpool.
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He said: “I was born on a council estate in Blackpool, my parents split up, many of my friends went down the wrong road. Mum was bringing up four boys on her own and we were pretty poor but we did the best we could. I had jobs in the arcades, walking dogs washing vans around Stanley Park.
"I never went to college or university, we could not afford it. Then I started at Swinton Insurance at 18 in Caunce Street on a YTS, making teas as a office junior. I ended up being assistant manager there at 24 and then went to Easthams and ended up deputy manager at an office with 80 people. Then I went to some of the big firms in Manchester and Liverpool.”
But after one subsequent employer fired him and he won his unfair dismissal case, he decided to start his own company.
He said: “I was at the tribunal and they said to me ‘how much do you want?’. Instead of asking for a huge amount of money, I just said ‘rip my contact up’, which they did and that cancelled any restrictive covenants on me.
"I started my own legal costs firm and the clients I had brought in, came over to me. Six years on and we have a dozen people working for us now all working from home, up and down the country.”
Among those working with him are wife Debbie, daughter Victoria who is studying law, and son Daniel who does marketing for the firm.
Paul said: "We specialise in legal costs. When a solicitor finishes a case and win damages, they send use the file of papers and we prepare a detailed bill of costs, which can run to up to 40 pages - letters, calls, time spent, disbursements etc.
"We then submit it to the responsible party and then I personally negotiate a deal – taking reductions and challenges into account. Cases can be from £10,000 to £5m. We make a six figure profit every year.