As a savvy shopper I have always shopped around for the best deals. Over the years I have discovered that sometimes you can get a cheaper version of a product which will “do the job” but more often than not, it is not as long-lasting/tasty or nutritionally valued as a product at a higher price.
With recent interest prices so high and first-time buyers finding it increasingly difficult to climb on to that enviable first rung of the property ladder, more and more people are “shopping around” for property lawyers to assist them with their conveyancing. It seems that many sellers and buyers are seemingly placing a higher value on a legal firm that saves them the most money on their legal fees, as they see the conveyancing part of their house move as a necessary evil.
So my question is, do you really “get what you pay for” in the world of legal services and particularly with conveyancing? To answer this we need to look at the way firms are dealing with legal work in the modern world. Let us take a look at the current Conveyancing Market:
1. More and more firms are employing trainees/paralegals/legal assistants to do the job of an experienced conveyancing lawyer . These employees are cheaper to hire, wages are less and they are more readily available. However, these employees, in the most, are not experienced or qualified solicitors and thus their work needs to be supervised by a more experienced lawyer, which takes time and inevitably delays the conveyancing process and we all know time is money!
2. Firms that charge lower fees need to get more clients through their doors. However, with such large caseloads, are they really able to offer each one of their clients an individual, personal service with a quick response time? Unfortunately, probably ‘no’ is the answer.
3. There are also firms who are offering an “online legal service” whereby you rarely, if at all, get to speak to your lawyer, or even to a real person. This online service allows firms to employ less people and therefore keep costs low. The major downside for some clients is all correspondence must be undertaken online and, with less man-power on the ground, the turnaround time is a lot longer.
4. Many firms now enter into agreements with local estate agents, or financial service providers, to pay referral fees for every client that is referred to them. Whilst this might seem like a good idea, those contracts usually mean that even in busy times firms are still required take on all of the clients that have been referred to them. This means caseloads become impossibly large and work takes much longer to complete. Usually the referral fee has to be factored into the costs being passed on to the clients, which can mean the law firm are making less profit and therefore needs to take on more work to make up for this. Then here we are in a vicious circle of too much work, for not enough fees.
At Butcher Andrews, we have been undertaking your legal work since the 1890s and although methods and caselaw have moved on over the years, the traditional methods of face to face meetings with your lawyer, trust between client and solicitor, and an efficient friendly and professional service, are still the order of the day!
Our fees are at a level that ensures that we are never tempted to do ‘bulk conveyancing’ and thus we only take on a level of work that enables us to continue to give each and every one of our clients the time and expertise they have come to expect from our firm.
We never pay referral fees because we have great working relationships with our local agents.
So whilst we may cost slightly more than our local competitors, we believe that providing a fast, efficient and, most importantly, a personal service to our clients is the most important objective that any firm can have. We aim to respond to all correspondence the same business day and to prioritise matters, as required.
We maintain a niche client base to enable us to cater to all of our clients’ needs and also to ensure that things such as holiday and sick cover run smoothly, and seamlessly, so that our clients’ matters can still progress, even in the absence of their appointed lawyer.
We have a breadth of expert knowledge in our property department from specialising in Transfers of Equity, First Registrations, and First Time Buyers with myself, Lydia Larkman https://www.butcherandrews.co.uk/people/lydia-larkman/ to complex and involved land law matters with our Associate Solicitor Sue Smith https://www.butcherandrews.co.uk/people/sue-smith/ and also in-depth, high value, complex Probate and Estate transactions with our Partner and Head of Residential Property Department Toni Potter https://www.butcherandrews.co.uk/people/toni-potter/.
So if you are looking for a first class legal service where you will have your own dedicated, experienced, and supportive lawyer, together with knowledgeable, friendly, support staff who are always on hand to deal with your needs, where you can have a face to face meeting with your lawyer, and where you will always feel important, well cared for and your interests prioritised, then please contact us for a quote today.
By Lydia Larkman