Communicating with a conveyancer

10 Apr 2013

Will it be easy to contact my conveyancing solicitor?It can often depend how low a level of legal fee you decided upon when selecting a conveyancer. To make the legal work still profitable, conveyancers will have to save resources somewhere, and avoiding customer telephone calls may be one of them.

The quality of conveyancing varies wildly between conveyancing businesses. There are those who prioritise price as their main unique selling point (USP), and there are those who prioritise excellence, service and the personal touch. There are also inbetweens and further extremes on either side. How you select the right one is down to you, and a small amount of Google research.

There are certain types of conveyancing businesses including:

1. The traditional conveyancing solicitor working in a solicitor’s office who specialise in conveyancing having been trained in the widest areas of law as part of their legal training and so bring a wealth of knowledge of all the areas which conveyancing impacts – wills, probate, estate planning, trusts, family, employment, disputes – certainly not one-trick ponies.

2. The same model but with chartered legal executives (though often they will be employed in solicitor firms above).

3. Again, the same model, but with licensed conveyancers.

4. A lot of conveyancing businesses now operate on a minimal legal trained basis, just the bare essentials in the conveyancing process itself – hopefully with a solicitor somewhere in the building to supervise – and with very high throughput of customers whose model would simply fail if the staff had to answer customer phone calls. These same establishments will not allocate you a named individual conveyancer to look after your home move from start to finish.

Do remember that all the models above, though typically 3 and 4, can be the favourite of some well regarded estate agents who will receive vast sums of money to refer customers to them, you included. As a result, customer service may not be the motivation.

But will they keep me informed / be contactable?

This depends on whether you have discovered if your conveyancer offers any of the following:

  • Are they instant decision makers (e.g. a qualified conveyancing solicitor) or are they junior and so need to seek approval for legal decisions?
  • Were you provided with their personal telephone number and email?
  • A service where cheap price was not their primary USP, and corners have to be cut
  • Were you in fact informed that for updates you would be sent off to a website to tick boxes to carefully selected general stages, rather than a promise of regular phone calls/emails etc.?
  • Is the conveyancer dedicated to just conveyancing work (i.e. they are not involved in another area of work, such as taking them off to court / out of the office)?

For many conveyancers, keeping in constant communication with their clients is the most enjoyable part, and some conveyancing solicitors make it their policy to always answer ringing phones at their desk, putting the client first. Even conveyancing solicitors know how difficult it is to get hold of another conveyancer and so it must be as hard for clients, possibly worse.

Unfortunately, many conveyancing businesses offer a sort of marketing ploy, where they direct customers off to a website for updates. This is certainly not favoured by all conveyancing solicitors, probably not even the majority or close to that. Instead look for a priority of communication as part of their USPs.