Volume conveyancers are reaching out to all “serious” conveyancing practitioners in a bid to form a new representative body for the sector.
The Conveyancing Association (CA) – which has grown out of the Direct Conveyancing Association – launches today with a rallying call against restricted lender panels and for conveyancers to respond to the impending challenge of alternative business structures (ABSs).
Among the 20 founder members are Eversheds, Shoosmiths, Legal Futures Associate Irwin Mitchell, Enact, Countrywide Property Lawyers, My Home Move and Barnetts, whose senior partner, Richard Barnett, is chairman of the Law Society’s conveyancing and land law committee. The full list is below.
The CA, a not-for-profit group, is open to both solicitors and licensed conveyancers. Chairman Edward Goldsmith, of Liverpool firm Goldsmith Williams, said he wanted “any firm which is serious about conveyancing and sees it as core to the future of the profession” to join. He added: “I don’t think conveyancers feel they have a voice at the moment.”
The fact the CA is currently dominated by direct conveyancers should not discourage practitioners who have a traditional face-to-face model, he said. It is “all about client choice… there is room in this market for all of us”.
The CA’s objectives include improving the experience for the home-moving public and encouraging greater collaborative working.
Mr Goldsmith said restricted lender panels are “a huge threat for the industry, putting all conveyancing businesses at risk. We want to facilitate conversations with lenders and third parties on behalf of experienced and reputable firms that put conveyancing at the heart of their business”. He suggested that in time lenders could recognise membership of the CA as a mark of quality that might protect firms from being removed from panels.
Mr Goldsmith also pointed to ABSs as a central reason for establishing the CA: “The possible creation of multi-disciplinary practices and the flooding of new entrants into the marketplace could significantly change the future conveyancing landscape… We may be living through the phoney war at the moment as we are only competing with ourselves.”
Founder members of the CA are:
Countrywide Property Lawyers
Fidler and Pepper
HL Interactive LLP
Irwin Mitchell LLP
My Home Move
Pictons Solicitors LLP
Taylor Walton LLP