Free2Convey, the free conveyancing portal developed by the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA), is to be available “in the next few weeks”, it has emerged.
The portal is a rival to Veyo, developed by the Law Society and Mastek, and which has announced a flat fee of £20 per transaction. Veyo has been tested since the spring, but there is still no date for its launch.
Both portals are promising to offer ‘chain view’, giving conveyancers the ability to chart the progress of each person in a chain of transactions. They will also have a ‘deal room’, where parties can upload documents and work together on them.
Quill Pinpoint is among a dozen LSSA firms which have helped develop Free2Convey. Julian Bryan, managing director of Quill, told Legal Futures: “We will certainly have a live system in terms of providing a deal room and chain view before Veyo.
“We’ve been able to do this very nimbly, without having a huge bureaucratic process to go through. We don’t have a big marketing budget. Our approach is to use word of mouth.”
Mr Bryan said Free2Convey was currently being piloted by six law firms.
“It’s been a case of ‘so far, so good’, with no major glitches or problems. The pilot is open-ended in the sense that we need to make sure everything is working, but I expect it to go on for only a few more weeks.
“From mid-November, we should be in a position where the pilot is ending and firms can register.”
Mr Bryan said the launch of Free2Convey would be “a jungle drum that will beat” and word would get passed on. “The first person in a transaction to use Free2Convey can invite others to join through a secure email,” he said. “It will grow incrementally, like a spider’s web.”
The pilot follows a series of seminars led by Matt Lancaster, chairman of the LSSA, in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London.
Mr Bryan said the response had been “tremendous”, with some of the seminars oversubscribed and a “very positive” reaction. “We were able to show a live demo – what it could do, as opposed to what it might do.”
At the Law Society national property law conference earlier this month, president Jonathan Smithers said Veyo was still being tested and there was no fixed date for its national launch.
Mr Smithers said development of the conveyancing portal carried risks and “sometimes plans need to change”, but prolonged testing would ensure that “we get this right”.
Free2Convey will integrate with the case management systems which LSSA members provide to the majority of conveyancing firms in England and Wales. Members currently provide software to 90% of UK law firms.