We have seen the first signs of poor standards in the legal services industry finally coming home to roost.
Lenders are removing solicitors from their panels faster than they appointed them.
Solicitors were often put on a panel because they were local to the client, not because of the quality of their service.
Once off panel, they cannot act for the lender and if the client wants to use them, there has to be separate representation.
That means two sets of solicitors, one acting for the lender, one for the client. Costs double without tangible benefit to the client as the interests of lenders and clients are usually aligned.
The more this happens, the more clients will become distanced from the solicitor handling their property transaction. Is there a role for local conveyancing solicitors as this happens more and more?
Legal aid practices are also challenged and government cuts will have a huge effect on local solicitor practices. The government plans a telephone helpline in its aim to get away from the idea that access to justice means a state-funded lawyer.
The Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority have begun a planned withdrawal from the arrangements that make insuring law firms uneconomical.
Tremendous change is being imposed on solicitors, but change brings opportunities. Clients need trusted advisers – and financial advisers can fill the gap.