Nominations have opened for the Conveyancing Awards, which have been hosted annually for the past four years by Law Firm Services. And, in 2015, there are two new awards — the Conveyancers’ Conveyancer Award and the Small Conveyancer of the Year Award. Richard Mathias, Sales Director at Law Firm Services, told Today’s Conveyancer why the awards are so important to the industry.
What inspired the new Conveyancers’ Conveyancer Award?
"Well, it came about through turning a negative into a positive. I was chatting to a lawyer and he was criticising another conveyancer — telling me we should launch a wooden spoon award. And that got us thinking — why not spin that on its head? In football, for example, there’s the Players’ Player of the Year Award and that’s the most respected of the lot. So that’s what we’re launching — an award for the law firm that other law firms enjoy dealing with, be that a massive operation with lots of branches or a one man band. We are really excited about this award and can foresee it becoming the most prestigious of them all — there’s no better accolade than to be voted for and lauded by one’s peers.
"It’s very simple. There’s no entry fee and no judging panels — people nominate by clicking on a tab on our website and they can nominate as many times as they want. And the firm with the most votes wins."
How can you ensure people don’t cheat and vote for themselves?
"Don’t worry — we’ll be doing random checks to make sure there’s no chicanery!"
What’s the prize?
"The glory and prestige of being recognised as a firm well-regarded by its peers is the main prize. But also there’s a trophy and a glitzy black tie dinner in September. Over 300 people have attended the awards ceremony for the past two years and, in 2015, we’re switching venue to the Stadium MK in Milton Keynes and expecting around 350 attendees. It is definitely the biggest awards ceremony dedicated to just conveyancers and it’s certainly the only time 300 conveyancers gather together to celebrate success and good practice. There are always some very happy and dare I say very drunk conveyancers at the end of it."
What do you personally think makes for an effective conveyancing firm?
"A firm that is fully committed to providing the clients with as smooth a process as possible, with communication between conveyancer and client at the heart of that. Some firms don’t follow CQS protocol; they don’t answer phone calls promptly and they make the conveyancing process adversarial. That’s all wrong. This is a people business at the end of the day — it isn’t all about compliance and technology. With the launch of the Conveyancers’ Conveyancer Award, competitors will be able to look at what the winners are doing right and, hopefully, learn from that."
What about the other new award for 2015 — the Small Conveyancer of the Year Award?
"In the past entering the awards wasn’t a level playing field. The big firms with the marketing departments always entered — they had the time and money to shout about their successes. But there are lots of small firms doing equally good jobs without the marketing clout to make a big noise and we wanted to recognise them too. So, to qualify as a small firm, we’re targeting those with less than 50 transactions for value on the Land Registry stats during September 2014 and we really hope that lots enter and have a bite of the cherry. They just have to register on our website and complete a simplified version of the application form. Then they will be mystery shopped — one of our judges may call — but it won’t be time consuming or onerous. And at the end there’s the promise of a great night out next September and the possibility of a very prestigious award."
You’re a Leeds United fan: will winning the Conveyancers’ Conveyancer award be as exciting for conveyancers as Leeds United getting promoted would be for you?
"It will be exciting for the winning conveyancer but no, I don’t think it will be as exciting as if Leeds United win promotion. I’m afraid I can’t promise that."
Nominations are now open for the Conveyancers’ Conveyancer Award at www.lfsconference.co.uk — it’s free to nominate. All other awards have an entry fee of £95. The ceremony is held at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes on September 17th.