I write further to your comment ‘Getting back on track’ regarding fast-track claims (see  Gazette, 9 April, 8), and in particular road traffic accident cases.
I come from a background of paralegal work in RTA personal injury cases. I worked at two firms prior to my training contact and both always had the best intentions of providing a good service to clients, but the limitations imposed by the high volume of cases that fee-earners were expected to juggle meant this could not be guaranteed.
At one firm I was expected to run nearly 200 cases, and at least 50 of them had to be litigated. I never had time to visit a client or take a statement in person, or even to run through the evidence before trial because of my other cases. I had to rely heavily on a barrister to prepare my witness client. The emphasis in all these firms is profit, no matter what the cost. And referral fees just mean that they can continue to do shoddy work as long as they can pay the referral fee.
I tried to bring the issue of training less-experienced fee-earners to the attention of my superiors but was told that there was not time. Then the fee-earners in question would run a case badly or handle the client inadequately and the case would be passed to a more senior fee-earner to sort out, and prepare for trial.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority or Law Society should do more to help firms implement the Civil Procedure Rules on a more professional level. More monitoring of the kind of service received by these insurance-run firms should be done to ensure a good level of service can be offered, as well as profit made.
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