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Licensed Conveyancers

Simon Law, Chairman of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, argues their case.

The Negotiator
Simon Law image

Simon Law

The profession of Licensed Conveyancers was introduced by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the late 1980s to create competition in the legal sector. For many years Licensed Conveyancers were looked down on by other legal professionals as a sort of ‘poor man’s lawyer’. But that is not the case anymore as can be evidenced by the growth of the profession in recent years – indeed four out of the ten largest Conveyancers in England and Wales are Licensed Conveyancers firms.

WHY ARE LICENSED CONVEYANCER FIRMS INCREASINGLY THE LAWYERS OF CHOICE?

Licensed Conveyancers logo imageFirst of all they represent a much lower risk to their clients and property professionals than multi disciplinary firms in terms of fraud and legal process. This is an evidence based assertion and is widely accepted as the case by the largest mortgage lenders. The evidence comes from the low level of claims over many years that have been made against the Professional Indemnity insurance under a Master Policy that is provided by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC – the regulator) and available to all firms. In fact the profession is viewed as such an attractive sector for PI insurance that the Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC – the professional body) has now introduced a new competitive PI policy that is also available to all CLC regulated firms.

Conveyancers’ CPD is all property-focused and relevant to the job they do every day, so they are always up-to-date.”

But perhaps of greater relevance to the estate agency sector is the fact that Licensed Conveyancers are specialists. They are focused purely on buying and selling properties and are not suddenly diverted as multi disciplinary firms may be by the need to appear in court at short notice, or deal with a client’s bereavement or a messy divorce. In other words there are no distractions from the core activity – Licensed Conveyancers came to the law specifically to deal with home buyers and sellers.

In a practical sense this means that they are able to keep up to date with the ever changing landscape in which they operate, be it new legislation, legal precedent through case law, or indeed the impact of environmental and other issues such as flooding, the Green Deal or Japanese Knotweed!! Their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is all property focused and relevant to the job they do day in and day out.

At the core of the profession is a regulator (the CLC) that is widely respected for its approach to assisted compliance and pragmatic but firm governance of the profession. The representative body for Licensed (the SLC) is a totally independent professional body which does not dictate to the profession, but listens to its members and delivers their objectives.

It is little wonder that many solicitor firms are seriously considering converting their conveyancing arm to Licensed Conveyancer status, and indeed the SLC has announced it will be offering a consultancy service to help them do so.

Yes, it makes sense for estate agents to prefer Licensed Conveyancers in the home buying and selling process.

Licensed Conveyancers are specialists, they’re not going to be diverted by a bereavement or a messy divorce.”

legal imageThe feedback from our members is that not only do their estate agent introducers stay with them once they have tried their services, but that many of their clients come back to them direct providing the opportunity for the firm to introduce that client back to the agent who brought them the business in the first place. Many firms have built their businesses with the minimum of promotion and advertising as they have found personal recommendation is a strong enough source of business. On the basis that it is only happy customers that come back with their friends, this is perhaps the strongest endorsement for using a Licensed Conveyancers.

Licensed Conveyancers come in all shapes and sizes. For national chains of estate agents there are the large national firms and the names of these such as MyHomeMove, Convey Law and DC Law all appear in the top ten conveyancing firms. There are also regional firms for agent firms that have a number of branches in any given regional location, and of course many small independent firms in towns and cities up and down the country. To locate a firm nearby agents should go to www.conveyancers.org click on the ‘Find a Licensed Conveyancer’ tab and put in their postCode. This will bring up all the firms located nearby. On the basis that the only way to really appreciate the different service offering is to try it out, why not give it a go?

July 16, 2015

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