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2017-05-doc3 On lawyers’ inefficient teamwork

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Many societies recognise concerns about the cost of access to justice. The Federal Court of Australia obviously gave a serious warning to lawyers for ‘… an inefficient and inappropriate way of dealing with the preparation for, and conduct of the hearing of, a case that, in effect, was to be, and should have been, substantively prepared and argued at all stages by counsel … Given the obvious efficiency (and proper role) of having counsel draft and settle pleadings and submissions, as well as leading evidence in chief, and significant savings in fees from his doing so, there is no apparent reason why much of that work was planned to be done by not one but, in various unexplained ways, four solicitors as well as counsel.’

In Justice Rares’ view ‘… it is time that the profession recognised that costs should be kept to a minimum. Having five lawyers looking at, for example, the drafting of a pleading or submissions is a matter that, in a case such as this, bespeaks a failure to address a client’s best interests …’ and ‘… involves a degree of waste and unnecessary duplication of effort that I cannot comprehend.’

Why did these lawyers act so inconsiderately, mindless to client’s interest? Teamwork is fine, but appropriately and efficiently organisation of the legal work to be done is even better.

See Federal Court of Australia 21 March 2017 (Armstrong Scalisi Holdings Pty Ltd v Piscopo (Trustee), in the matter of Collins [2017] FCA 423), at www.austlii.edu.au