Leading conveyancing firms gain ABS status

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By Legal Futures

28 August 2012

Conveyancing: CLC has allowed non-lawyer ownership for several years

Two of the country’s best-known conveyancing practices have become alternative business structures.

Enact and Total Conveyancing Services, the trading name of LMS Direct Conveyancing Ltd, have both been licensed by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC).

Enact, which started life as the volume conveyancing arm of what was then Addleshaw Booth & Co (now Addleshaw Goddard), is now owned by First Title – part of First American Financial Corporation – while TCS is owned equally by LMS, estate agents Connells and LSL Property Services plc.

CLC rules have allowed non-lawyer investment in conveyancing practices for more than a decade but such businesses need to convert to ABS status to continue operating as they do now.

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Lee Hartshorn, a director of Total Conveyancing Services and its head of legal practice, said: “We are both thrilled and proud to have been awarded a licence by the CLC to operate as an ABS. There are a number of key objectives which we as a business are aiming to achieve and this was one of them…

“The application was extremely thorough and detailed but that is understandable when you consider that the CLC are only looking to license firms who can demonstrate they have the necessary policies and procedures in place to ensure the customer receives a quality service which meets the new outcomes-focused regime. We would like to thank everyone at the CLC for their help and support during the process.”

Meanwhile, Isadore Goldman has become the latest ABS licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Based in London and Norwich, it specialises in personal insolvency, corporate recovery, bank recovery, and property and commercial litigation. The firm has become an ABS as it was a legal disciplinary practice with a non-lawyer partner.

The firm said in a statement: “Whilst we are not intending to make any immediate changes to our business structure at present, it clearly gives us additional flexibility in terms of structuring our business going forward.”


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