As the number of CQS accredited firms tips over the 200 mark, the society has reminded its members that mortgage lenders, consumers and insurers will be looking for the new mark of quality when it comes to conveyancing practices.
Desmond Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society, says: “With 202 firms now accredited spread and another 750 applications to be assessed, CQS has arrived and is clearly on the home buying industry’s radar as a key requirement for conveyancing solicitors.
“Accredited firms have already reported that new clients are checking whether they are a CQS accredited firm and we are seeing a high level of traffic online going to CQS firms via our CQS consumer website. Firms without CQS accreditation could find themselves left behind.”
He says it has had almost 1000 applications so far, and while 202 accredited out of 1000 applied might look low, it was never supposed to be a rubber stamping exercise.
Hudson adds: “These firms are being thoroughly assessed on a range of factors, including client care. This is not just some marketing gimmick. Quality in relation to CQS means quality rather than simply being a label.”
The scheme requires practices to undergo a strict assessment, compulsory training, self-reporting, random audits and annual reviews in order to maintain CQS status.
It is open only to firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulations Authority and has the support of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Building Societies Association, Legal Ombudsman and the Association of British Insurers.