Property Forum Awards confirms expert judging panel

Searchflow200The judges for the inaugural Property Forum Awards, hosted by SearchFlow, have been confirmed. The panel includes experts from across the legal, property and financial sectors.

An awards scheme specifically designed to demonstrate key achievements in the conveyancing industry, the Property Forum Awards, in association with Legal Futures, celebrate law firms which set definitive benchmarks for excellence.

Jonathan Smithers, CooperBurnett’s head of property and managing partner for more than 20 years, is the vice president of the Law Society and will assume the role of president this year. He was chair of the Conveyancing and Land Law Committee while also having an instrumental role in establishing the Conveyancing Quality Scheme. Jonathan brings to the panel extensive experience and knowledge in the conveyancing and legal sectors.

Mark Witherspoon currently leads the development of data services in his role at Zoopla Property Group and has a 25-year career spanning the residential property and financial services sectors. Responsible for creating the market for Automated Valuation Models, Mark is an expert in his field.

Sheila Kumar is chief executive of the CLC. Her previous roles include group director of regulation at the Equality and Human Rights Commission and director of change, delivery and performance excellence at the Law Society. In addition, Sheila led the Clementi review team at the Ministry of Justice. She brings an extensive background in regulation to the judging panel.

Legal Eye’s Rhonda Hales works with a wide range of law firms, helping them establish systems and processes required to comply with their codes of conduct and supports them in achieving industry standards including CQS, Lexcel and the Legal Eye Quality Standard. Rhonda’s knowledge of compliance and processes is industry-leading.

Rob Hailstone founded the Bold Legal Group (BLG) in 2010. Set up in order to help keep conveyancers up-to-date with the ever-changing market, the BLG now has over 330 members. Together with the BLG, Rob successfully campaigned when HSBC reduced its lender panel down to just 42 firms, and he continues to report and monitor many conveyancing issues. Rob brings with him 30 years’ experience in residential conveyancing during which he has helped grow a number of law firms.

The awards are free to enter and categories include Residential Conveyancing Firm of the Year, Commercial Conveyancing Firm of the Year, Best Customer Service, Best for Promotional Marketing, Best for Innovation and Market Influencer of the Year.

The winners will be revealed at the invitation-only Property Forum Awards, a glittering ceremony hosted by Rory Bremner, on 23 April 2015 at the Cumberland Hotel, London. Firms shortlisted for the awards will be invited free of charge.

“We’re delighted with the calibre of the expert judges at our first Property Forum Awards,” comments SearchFlow’s Managing Director, John Pickford. “Each one brings with them their own relevant sector knowledge and experience and proves how both credible and valuable it is to win a Property Forum Award.”

Visit: to enter, the closing date is 6th March 2015.


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