Moving house is a big deal – choose the right conveyancing solicitor!
So, you’ve found your dream home, and it’s time to choose your conveyancing lawyer. But who to choose? A conveyancing solicitor? A licenced conveyancer? A legal executive? Here, we explain the differences to make sure you choose the best conveyancer possible.
What types of Lawyers are there?
In England & Wales there are a number of recognised ‘lawyers’ (ie a generic term for people who work in the law in a professional/advisory way). They include:-
- Legal Executive
- Licenced Conveyancer
What is a Solicitor?
Solicitors are perhaps the most likely legal professionals that the public will access for legal advice – conveyancing amongst those legal services.
What qualifications do Conveyancing Solicitors have?
All solicitors will need a qualifying law degree (3 years); a post graduate diploma in Legal Practice (1 year); and to have undertaken Training Contract (2 years supervised on the job training). So, post A levels it would take a conveyancing solicitor 6 years to qualify, and some of that training will include legal subjects other than conveyancing – eg contract law, wills & probate, litigation, and so on.
What regulation do Conveyancing Solicitors have?
The professional body looking after solicitors is the Law Society, they are regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA), and their work will be subject to the protection of the Legal Ombudsman.
The tight regulatory framework that exists around conveyancing solicitors is designed to provide a safe, professional service on offer to the public.
Are Conveyancing Solicitors insured?
Yes. It is a regulatory requirement that all solicitors (not just conveyancing solicitors) carry professional indemnity insurance. This means that if your conveyancing goes wrong (for example you discover a problem when you come to sell your house, the solicitor you used will be insured to cover any negligence claim you may have against them.
Do Barristers deal with conveyancing?
Barristers do not deal with conveyancing, and are generally instructed by solicitors on behalf of the public (rather than the public accessing them directly) in any event.
What is a Legal Executive?
A Legal Executive is a form of authorised lawyer. Their professional body is known as CILEx (Chartered Institute of Legal Executives). You will often see Legal Executives work within solicitors practices. The route to qualifying as a Legal Executive has historically been one undertaken whilst working – as opposed to the route through to becoming a solicitor which more typically would see lawyers go to university, read law, take a post graduate diploma in Legal Practice, and undertake a 2 year training contract a Trainee Solicitor.
Can Legal Executives deal with Conveyancing?
Yes – Legal Executives can and very often do undertake conveyancing work. Unlike a Licensed Conveyancer (below), a Legal Executives training is more likely to be broader based than just conveyancing work.
What is a Licensed Conveyancer?
A Licenced Conveyancer is a form of legal qualification regulated by the Council of Licensed Conveyancers (the Council also offer a separate qualification for Probate work).
Licensed Conveyancers will have only trained in property law, and will not therefore have a diverse grounding as solicitors will. It is also much quicker to qualify as a Licensed Conveyancer. Licensed Conveyancers can work within a solicitor’s practice, or operate their own property law practice.
What is a Property Paralegal?
A paralegal (conveyancing and otherwise) is a term sometimes used for people working in the law who provide support to solicitors, and aspects of their work will include some basic legal advice/work (usually under the supervision of a qualified solicitor). There are recognised paralegal qualifications. It is unlikely that a paralegal would supervise/oversee your conveyancing.
What is an unqualified Conveyancer?
Unusually, conveyancing is an area where some gain the necessary ‘qualifications’ to undertake conveyancing work simply from years of experience. There are many ‘conveyancers that have no academic qualifications specific to conveyancing, but practice daily – often within solicitors practices under the supervision of conveyancing solicitors.
Is a Conveyancer cheaper than a Conveyancing Solicitor?
Possibly! But don’t leave it to any doubt – get a conveyancing quote now with a full breakdown of solicitors fees, and conveyancing disbursements. And, ask yourself whether you want cheap conveyancing or the best conveyancing? Or, perhaps you want, and can have both?!
Should I choose a Conveyancing Solicitor or a Conveyancer?
Any conveyancing ‘lawyer’ (solicitor, legal executive, licenced conveyancer or unqualified conveyancer) should be able to do the nuts and bolts of the conveyancing process. So, here are our top tips on making sure you get the best conveyancing:-
- Solicitor reviews – check out what previous conveyancing clients thought. QLAW uses TrustPilot
- Conveyancing Quote – how did the quote process work (it will be a mirror of the likely service you will get during your house move)
- Service Promise – what turnaround times does the conveyancer work to?
- Client APP – does the conveyancer use an APP? QLAW has an APP giving 24/7 access to your file and to us
- Law Society CQS – is the firm a member of the Law Society’s CQS quality scheme?
- SRA – is the conveyancing firm regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority?