This year, we have been given the privilege of being involved in the judging panel for the prestigious Law Firm Services (LFS) Awards. The first judging day was held earlier this week, so we were able to get the inside scoop and find out how the process really works.
On discussing the 2015 awards with Richard Mathias, Sales Director at LFS and organiser of the event, he was astounded at the high number of conveyancing firms that have applied this year. It seems many of you value the awards and are working hard to gain the coveted LFS Award Winner stamp of approval.
The first judging day was for the Regional Categories, of which we were given the South and South West. For every category, there is both a primary and secondary judge, with the aim of achieving a more rounded view of the applicants. When combined with obtaining professionals from a variety of backgrounds within the conveyancing sector, this certainly means the judging process is as honest and fair as possible.
Every year, LFS develop the assessment criteria and add in or remove elements to further improve the overall system. This year, the applicants were assessed on 5 key elements that are considered integral for an effectively run conveyancing firm:
- Application – a series of questions were asked and applicants submitted paper-based responses.
- Phone call – the relevant judge called each applicant from the group to assess the communication systems of the firm.
- Mystery shopping – specialists posed as prospective clients and scored the firm on how well the enquiry and processes were handled.
- Compliance Check – Legal Eye performed a compliance check within each firm that applied and scored against their required criteria.
- Customer Letter – this is a newly introduced assessment category for 2015. The relevant judges scored the initial letter that is sent to home buying clients upon instruction.
All of the judges presented the scores and reasoning behind them, for the conveyancing firms within their given region. The points were then added to a database which generated a final overall score.
As the firms within each region were of such a high standard, the panel then discussed the most effective strategy to generate a final winner and highly commended runners up. A further level of assessment was then included, to ensure the final decision was accurate. Here, the documents for the highest scoring firms were handed to every judge, who then gave a final score on everything that had been discussed.
The next stage of the judging process will begin in a couple of weeks, where secondary categories will be scored and final decisions on the winners will be made.
Overall it has been a very eye-opening experience and we are looking forward to attending the ceremony come September.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the awards, please visit the LFS Awards website.