Brexit has had little negative impact on conveyancing work despite reports of the economy slowing down, according to latest sector research carried out for the Gazette.

A third of respondents to the survey, undertaken by Andrew Otterburn of the Law Consultancy Network, a group of law firm and chambers consultants, saw an increase in residential conveyancing volumes this year; one third saw little change.

The January to June 2017 survey figures are based on responses from 33 firms, of which more than 70% carried out commercial work, nearly 80% did private client and over a third did legal aid. A third of respondents had 10 or more partners.

The biggest concern was Brexit, and the economic and political uncertainty, followed by retention and recruitment and profit margins. Other issues mentioned by respondents include the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation, the housing market, staff costs and morale and considering new types of claim work such as mortgage misselling.

Mergers continued to be a possibility on most respondents' agendas - survey participants received or made 24 approaches in the last six months compared to 16 in the second-half of last year. 

Few respondents had merged in the last six months. Most thought there was little likelihood of a merger in the coming year. When asked who they would look to merge with, should a merger be on the cards, most opted for someone of the same size or smaller.

Otterburn said: 'Brexit and the economic and political uncertainty around it is clearly a concern for many firms, and increasingly the news headlines are dominated by stories of the economy slowing, yet this survey indicates that many firms are still actually pretty busy.'

National property law conference: overcoming challenges in a volatile landscape
(11 October 2017, London)

The conference will meet the needs of both those working in commercial and residential conveyancing, while also addressing areas of common challenges. Take away practical advice from workshops focused on HM Land Registry updates, new AML regulations, Stamp Duty Land Tax and planning issues for conveyancers. 

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