'Conveyancing factories' with inexperienced juniors processing complex transactions can delay transactions, a law firm chief executive has warned ahead of responding to the government's proposals to improve the home buying process.
National firm Setfords is expected to tell the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation that conveyancers should be more transparent about the level of service they offer, and the qualifications and experience of those overseeing each step of the conveyancing process.
Chris Setford, co-CEO of the firm, told the Gazette that the profession must empower the public to make informed choices.
He said: 'While a client may believe they are instructing one, qualified, experienced lawyer, their transaction may actually be handled by a team of inexperienced, unqualified juniors acting in what can be termed "conveyancing factories". Inevitably, relying on juniors to process a complex transaction can result in unnecessary delays, mistakes and poor communication between client and lawyer. This can lead to frustration for the client and avoidable delay on the transaction.'
Clients should not underestimate the worth of instructing one qualified, experienced and dedicated lawyer to oversee the entire process, who is the single point of contact, especially if the transaction is complex, Setford said. However, clients may still wish to instruct a firm that employs juniors to process matters, he acknowledged.
Setfords will also tell the government it is against moves to encourage buyers and sellers to retain the same conveyancing solicitor. 'We do not see how a conveyancer can act in the best interests of both parties and, therefore, it is likely the client experience on one side will ultimately suffer,' the firm will say.
The consultation closes on 17 December.