By YURI RAPOPORT, B.Sc S.J.D., Executive director at Oracle Legal Case Management
As increasing numbers of high net worth individuals are moving to the United Kingdom, many of them experience a variety of legal difficulties on their way towards permanent settlement.
UK law firms engaged in assisting these individuals with advice on a myriad of different issues including wealth structuring, taxation, banking, property and business will often leave their clients dissatisfied; targets are not always met, services are overpriced and often take far too long to achieve results.
The truth is that some lawyers deliberately drag out legal matters (or take on matters outside their area of expertise) knowing they can make a lot of money on the ignorance of wealthy clients. As a result, high-net-worth (HNW) individuals can be led towards arduous court proceedings despite faster and cheaper routes (e.g. tribunals) being available.
Some 18 years ago, in response to this and other similar problems surrounding the quality of legal services, the first firm specialising in legal brokerage was founded. Nowadays, legal referral services are common, however, none of them offer to supervise the lawyer’s activities in aim of protecting clients. Understanding this gap in the market, a new project called ‘Legal Case Management’ was born as a joint venture between Dr. Yuri Rapoport and the London-based multi-family office Oracle Capital Group ( www.orcap.co.uk )
The essence of the service is that an intermediary firm is placed between the HNW individual and the lawyer. It analyses the client’s legal requirements and selects the right expert from its own directory of best practitioners – based on research of lawyers’ respective track records relating to the quality, efficiency and costs of the lawyer’s services.
On accepting a client referral, the lawyer is asked to enter into an agreement that stipulates specific limitations on the lawyer’s conduct and allows for independent auditing of the lawyer’s case file. The intermediary supports the client, monitors the quality of legal service and focuses on delivering desired results as quickly as possible. Moreover, if the client is not satisfied with the lawyer, the intermediary will step in to pay for the client’s legal costs.
Whilst this concept is already proving successful in Europe, there are indications that Legal Case Management will expand as a global service for HNW and Ultra HNW individuals. Currently, Legal Case Management experts are already working in France, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland.