During the property boom recruitment for conveyancers was off the scale. Experienced qualified candidates were few and as a result many firms would recruit non qualified fee earners to fill urgent requirements.
At this time my advice to candidates concerned they weren’t a qualified Legal Executive or Licensed Conveyancer was not to worry about it if they had conveyancing experience as it wasn’t stopping them getting a job. These days things are very different. What followed the property crash of 2008 were numerous professional negligence claims with firms setting up specialist teams to deal with the fall out.
Five years later and what has changed? It is well documented that the residential conveyancing job market is thriving and we are inundated every day with new instructions. What is different is the request for candidates who are qualified as Solicitors, Chartered Legal Executives or Licensed Conveyancers. The reasons for this are two fold. Firstly lenders are much more cautious so when selecting firms for panels they are looking for practices that can minimise risk. The New Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) has raised standards with membership being based on key conveyancing staff and adherence to good practice standards and procedures. Without the CQS practices won’t get onto panels so as a result are ensuring key staff are qualified. Secondly, professional indemnity insurance is increasingly difficult for some smaller firms to afford, with conveyancing being the most costly due to it being considered high risk. Firms are therefore insisting on qualified staff to avoid future claims.
All the signs are that the economy is on the up and as a result firms have reinstated salary reviews and are looking at packages to remain competitive. As a result we are also finding that our clients are once again looking at funding CILEx and CLC courses for fee earners. In a candidate short market the best way of ensuring you have the best staff is to develop your own which can only be good news for employees.
In short, if you want to ensure that you have the optimum choice of job opportunities my advice would be to look seriously into qualifying as a Chartered Legal Executive or Licensed Conveyancer as we anticipate that the market will increasingly demand qualified staff.