Today marks the first day of our 14th year. On 1 November 2000, I fulfilled my long term ambition to start my own law practice.
The last 13 years have been exciting times. I am extremely proud that in that time, nearly 10 young people have passed through my practice and I have trained 5 as solicitors. They are all impressive characters and I am delighted that each of them has gone to do extremely well in the legal sector.
We have dealt with nearly 1,300 files, both representing the insurance industry and also claimants throughout England and Wales.
The face of the personal injury industry has changed a lot of the years and whilst 1 April 2013 has reduced the ability of lawyers to recover legal fees, we have stay true to our core values of sourcing work direct from members of the public, based on recommendation and word of mouth, whilst others sacrificed the quality of client care by paying huge referral fees to claims farmers.
Our core philosophy is always to act in the interest of the clients. When No-Win-No-Fee Agreements were brought in, we had concerns that it would create a conflict of interests for lawyers, as we would only be paid if the claim is successful. We anticipated that this would lead to firms looking to exploit the system in order to maximise profit.
In my opinion, and having inherited over 400 files from other law firms during that period, I have seen strong evidence that this conflict has not always served the public well.
I was also one of the very few claimants’ solicitors who was against removal of the original ban on referral fees by the Law Society. I am delighted that at long last toward the end of our 13th year, the Government had sought it fit to bring back the ban on referral fees.
Personal injury was not a fashionable area of law when I entered the profession in the mid 80’s, but became so in the 90’s. In my view with the introduction of claims management companies and referral fee, it has taken the personal injury field back to what it was in the 70’s.
In December 2012, it was sad for us to have moved out of The London Fruit Exchange, a building which we loved, but we have made moved into The Mallon Room, Toynbee Hall, only a stones throw away, and we continue to serve people who have been wronged either by institutions or others in many parts of England and Wales.
Now in our 14th year, we aim to continue to stay true to our core philosophy, despite all the changes in personal injury funding, to serve you our dear clients and the general public.
A long time ago I was taught at law school that the difference between my profession and others, was that clients interest are of paramount importance and that they should always take priority above that of a lawyer.
That remains our core philosophy.
If you have any legal issues which you wish to talk about, we are always happy to take your calls without obligation. If we are unable to assist you we can always recommend you to someone who may.
If I can be of any help, please do not hesitate to contact me, Abdul Hafezi, on 0207 377 0600.
A A Hafezi
1 November 2013