With due respect to the Law Society, some of it’s accreditations have been more useful as marketing tools than for genuinely evidencing expertise and additional trustworthiness, but things are changing.
The Conveyancing Quality Scheme is a good example of how accreditation can really work well and, as it were “separate the men from the boys”. Implementation of the scheme was also well timed due to the fact that lenders were starting to cut down their panels of conveyancing solicitors they consider to offer a satisfactory service and the conveyancing market had reached a point where sheer separation was setting in. Conveyancers had been undercutting each other for years leading to a farcical situation where conveyancing costs have hardly risen in 20 years. When you compare that to inflation and the fact that estate agents charge a percentage of sale proceeds in a market which has easily doubled in 20 years, you realise that something simply had to give.
Well known and respected conveyancers tell us that whilst things are still tough, having the Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation is way in which they can market other than just on cost. the scheme also is worthwhile in that if standards fall, either due to legal mistakes and complaints or service levels, membership will not be renewed. Inspections take place yearly so even though a large number of firms have been accredited, whether some will stay accredited or be prepared to be scrutinised yearly, at a cost., remains to be seen.
So, if you are buying or selling or possibly extending a lease, when choosing a conveyancing solicitor you really should ensure you choose a solicitor accredited under this scheme.
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