What is a Steering Committee?
As the name would suggest, a steering committee helps steer and direct complex litigation.
Ordered by court, the committee is made up of a group of legal professionals who make decisions on the overall strategy of a case, carry out administrative tasks, and decide how work will be divided.
Within group litigations, a number of law firms may represent large groups of people. Therefore, the court forms a steering committee, made up of representatives of each firm, to show they can manage the litigation effectively.
Each firm continues to represent the interests of the clients they act for, but the committee is used to show the court that the chosen firms can cooperate and successfully manage the case.
A committee is not appointed in every litigation but it is common practice where there are a large number of firms representing a large number of clients.
Which law firms become members of the steering committee?
The initial proposal on who becomes a member is made by the law firms involved with the case. However, the court has the power to refuse access for firms.
The criteria of whether or not a law firm will become a member of the steering committee depends on what value they can add to the committee. This can include, among other things, what expertise the lawyers have or the number of clients they represent.
The role of the steering committee
The steering committee’s role is to ensure the case is delivered successfully for the claimants. This includes such tasks as:
- Working on the overall strategy
- Identifying and mitigating risks
- Monitoring timelines and ensuring proper administration
- Ensuring work is divided appropriately
- Collectively instructing experts and counsel.
The advantages of a steering committee
The specific benefits of a steering committee include:
- Ensuring there is no unnecessary duplication of work and costs
- Ensuring the needs and interests of all clients on the Group Register are represented
- Ensuring the committee uses each firm’s legal expertise so that clients receive the best representation possible
- Ensuring consistency between the advice given to clients and what is pleaded to the court
- Ensuring the litigation is run efficiently, so to avoid unnecessary delays to clients receiving justice.
Is our firm on a steering committee?
We form part of the steering committee in the majority of our actions. We work alongside a number of other law firms to ensure we provide the best possible service for our clients.
In the case of the Mercedes diesel emissions scandal, we are currently the lead firm for the group. Our firm works alongside a number of other well-known firms to make decisions that will help benefit claimants in the case.
While continuing to represent our clients, we also take the lead on helping the court and other firms run the litigation effectively.
We understand the importance of being a part of a steering committee, especially as a lead firm, and make it our number one priority to ensure the case is run efficiently, fairly, and with our client’s best interests in mind.