Conveyancers not diversifying despite growing competition

Print This Post

By Legal Futures

26 March 2010

Price sensitivity: entry of supermarkets to the law will drive choices made on cost, not service

High street conveyancers are not comfortable about diversifying into other areas of practice, research has found.

A survey by property search information provider MDA Searchflow reported that 60% of conveyancers were wary of moving into fields such as litigation and probate. It said this is largely because they remain uncertain about the outcome of the general election, the future of home information packs, and significant structural changes like alternative business structures (ABSs) in 2011.

The company said: “With an increase in competition expected after the Legal Services Act changes next year, traditional high street conveyancers will be faced with a raft of new systems and commercial business models to deal with.

“Although our survey revealed that HIPs have, at least, brought a more commercial thread to the conveyancing process, this must be matched by a willingness to embrace electronic workflows such as case management and online search ordering, if firms are to prosper in the future.”

Almost three-quarters of respondents said their business had been hit by the recession, with 35% reporting that it has been “significantly” affected.  Clients are now placing professional fees under greater scrutiny, with 62% of respondents reporting that they have come under more price pressure in the past year.

At the same time, firms are also facing a sustained increase in costs (ahead of inflation), with more than a third of respondents reporting that professional indemnity premiums had increased by up to 10%.

“The recession has continued to take its toll in conveyancing, with cutbacks and increased price pressure from clients, and with solicitors’ services – traditionally viewed as a premium product – facing increased threats from lower-cost online alternatives,” says David Kempster, MDA SearchFlow’s marketing director. “Home movers are putting price ahead of just service, and new models like ‘Tesco Law’ are likely to accelerate this trend in future.”

Leave a comment

* Denotes required field

All comments will be moderated before posting. Please see our Terms and Conditions

Legal Futures Blog

The LSB’s proposals for legislative reform: let’s be clear

Caroline Wallace LSB

The publication of the Legal Services Board’s vision for legislative reform of legal services regulation on 12 September has generated a healthy level of interest and debate. This can, on the surface, seem a somewhat dry subject. However, it has an impact not just on existing regulated practitioners, but also on providers of legal services more generally, as well as everyone who uses or benefits from an effective legal sector. And, let’s face it, that’s all of us.

October 25th, 2016