What Does The Future Hold For The Traditional Conveyancing Company?

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RESOURCES - Conveyancing Company:
Ever since the mid-eighties, when home ownership in Britain started to become commonplace, the conveyancing departments of many law firms have expanded, to the point where many have broken away to form their own specialist conveyancing company. These organisations have been hit hard in recent times because of the housing market crash, but what does the future hold for the conveyancing company?
If the government presses ahead with the previous administration's plans to bring into force sections of the Legal Services Act 2007 which allow for the creation of Alternative Business Structures then the landscape should change rapidly.
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The ABS - a New Type of Conveyancing Company

First of all, I should say that the Legal Services Act 2007 (“the Act”) affects all law firms, but in this article we will concentrate on the conveyancing company. A major barrier to the expansion of any conveyancing firm in the past has been lack of investment - it has not been possible for outside investment to be obtained since all of the owners must currently be practising solicitors.

The Act, the relevant parts of which are due to come into force in October 2011, allows non-lawyers to jointly own law firms for the first time. There still needs to be at least one owner who is a solicitor and solicitors still need to be responsible for any legal work done by the firm but money for expansion can be supplied by external funders.

One Stop Conveyancing Shops

The likelihood is that the Act will give rise to “one stop conveyancing shops” - a conveyancing company which doesn't just do the legal work but which does estate agency, mortgage advice, insurance, even removals. Basically every service you are going need when buying or selling a house. It will not necessarily be the conveyancing practise that sets up the ABS. Indications are that major retailers intend to set these up and will presumably but a conveyancing company (or several) to handle the legal work. National estate agency chains may also get in on the act. These types of organisations have the massive advantage of already being in a position to fund such a large project.

What About the Traditional Conveyancing Company?

Margins for the traditional high street conveyancing company are already squeezed and it is likely that they will have to either move into other areas of the law, merge or else they will disappear as they find it impossible to compete with the low fees and massive advertising power and know how of the major retailers.

RESOURCES - Conveyancing Company:

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