Solicitors …. Don't you just love them!

Property Industry Eye – Where news comes first The Arena Property Law Forum Solicitors …. Don't you just love them!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)

  • Author
  • #19569

    smile please

    Yesterday there was a very interesting thread debating what needs to change in the conveyancing process. Is it information from the agent on the sales memos or attitudes or the legal profession?

    I accept agents can always do more but question if the solicitor actual takes any notice. In my opinion its attitudes from solicitors that need to change.

    We have a sale going through at the moment and thought an ideal time to share the stress agents have to go through progressing a sale.

    We have had a sale in hand for 7 weeks, a “local” law firm is dealing with this for the buyer, we have left a number of messages and they are never returned so yesterday one of the staff sent an email looking for a comprehensive update to give the chain. Below is our email:

    I trust you are well.

    I have left a number of messages and my previous email from last week is still to be answered.

    Could I have a comprehensive update of where we are in this case please.

    7 weeks in and we as it seems still to get the ball rolling.

    Could I ask the following;

    Have searches been applied for and when?

    Are searches back?

    Have you raised enquiries?

    If so what is outstanding?

    Do you have a mortgage offer on file?

    The onward chain is ready to exchange and I believe the chain behind is not far off. The sale was agreed in the provision of an early exchange so you can imagine our vendor is getting anxious.

    Your earliest update will be appreciated.

    We finally get a response this morning, this is the email we received back.

    Thank you for your email of yesterday

    The matter is proceeding and our local search is in hand and the result should be back any day.

    The writer has gone through the papers and sent off some enquiries.

    Yours faithfully 



    I would love to say this is a rare case but as every agent know this is the norm. How we give comprehensive and meaningful updates with the above?






    Last week we got a call from our preferred solicitor stating that he had received the management pack back from the other side as it was not stapled.

    I kid you not



    Very many years ago (before emails) I had a friend who worked as telephone receptionist for a law firm that we did business with from time to time.  One of our landlord clients was selling and I had introduced the client to this law firm in respect of the conveyancing work.  I rang up one day regarding the sale to find out what the latest delay was and, after being kept on hold for a few minutes, my friend whispered down the phone to me that the solicitor is available but had said “is it the agent calling? Oh just let him wait then”.  Apparently this was standard practice.  I waited around fifteen minutes before hanging up.

    And to think it was me who brought the business to him (without payment or favour)!


    smile please

    Are there any conveyancers out there that would like to put their thoughts across?

    Not in a slanging match way but a try and move things forward attempt?


    smile please

    Just for sport ……

    Here is another pearl! – We have had a sale agreed since 28th September. Sales memos etc sent via email same day.

    We have only managed to speak to the solicitor once despite numerous calls, and responded just to one email.

    Buyer is furious (cash).

    This is not a panel solicitor this is a city based “Local” firm.

    This is the type of battles agents face every single day.



    We had a solicitor who specifically handled 1 client case.  he had all his sides paperwork done within a matter of days,  was then complaining that the other solicitor wasn’t keeping up with his requests.  we found out he took all the paperwork home and worked in the evenings at home.  We exchanged 1 day late but completed on time. (bear in mind the vendors put their house up for sale 6 weeks before they moved across country and needed a sale to be found and completed in that time).

    The solicitor then told their client to refuse to pay the full amount and absolutely stitched us up.  I just don’t trust them, although for some reason the vendors and buyers do. They have too much control over the speed of the sale.

    We work in a local networking group with our preferred conveyancer now so we meet each week and discuss cases etc.  This helps us keep ahead of the game in this respect.



    smile please

    From my understanding a solicitor cannot advise a client not to pay an invoice as leaves them open to action.

    If this was the case and you have it in writing i would report the solicitor to the law society.

    Again just goes to show the complete contempt solicitors have for agents.

    Its a fact that most complaints or unhappy messages come not during marketing but once the sale has been agreed and this is often down to the poor service and attitude of solicitors.


    smile please

    Seem’s like a daily blog this but thought i would share today’s daily battle / naff service from a solicitor!

    A buyer decided to use a panel solicitor they found online (we warned them!).

    Set a sale up a month ago but the file stays with “New business” until certain documents are in. Anyway in the last month the client has sent in I.D. etc had a mortgage offer issued, but they did not send the file to the “fee earner” because the client had not paid them monies to keep on account for searches – Well fair enough but they did not ask the client! – i let the client know who paid same day.

    This was last week, today i chase to see where we are, if enquiries have been raised only to be told they have only yesterday requested the contract pack. I tell them this was sent almost a month ago, she scurries off comes back and confirms its in her “Unallocated” pile!

    Two things out of this:

    1. Reinforces how useless most solicitors are

    2. If this was left to an online agent, they would not have made a single call and the sale will still be languishing in limbo because nobody is chasing it.



    First of all the whinge: employees of agents ringing us wanting to know when their employer’s fee will be paid (so they know when they will get their commission) ie for reasons nothing to do with “keeping the chain informed” and all to do with being paid.

    There is an ethical issue which Estate Agents either appreciate but wish to ignore or do not appreciate at all.

    Who is the Solicitor’s client? We are prohibited from discussing our client’s affairs with anyone other than the client unless we have clear instructions from the client (signed, in writing) indicating we can discuss their case with a named third party. The Code of Conduct is available on the SRA website. Estate Agents may wish for Solicitors to ignore or manipulate our Code of Conduct-and some do-but if there is a complaint from the client the SRA and perhaps also the Legal Ombudsman-would have a field day.

    Most Solicitors I think will, however, give as much information as is possible to give. Giving the information to estate agents is duplicating that which is given to our client in any event-therefore it is pointless to give the same information to the estate agent. The fact that the client is referred by an estate agent is neither here nor there.

    Perhaps if estate agents checked with the person who instructed them, by email or phone call, what the state of play actually is then they would know which Solicitors their client needs help in chasing and which Solicitors they can leave alone because they are keeping the client updated in any event.

    Put crudely, keeping estate agents informed is not an obligation of a Solicitor.

    Most Solicitors undertaking conveyancing do so at capacity or beyond. Interruptions to the working day which are intrusive and which, objectively and subjectively, don’t take the matter forward are a waste of time.

    In summary there are ethical reasons why Solicitors can’t or won’t speak to Estate Agents and maintaining those ethical standards is a matter for each Solicitor.

    Therefore the system could be improved by estate agents recognising the regulatory framework within which Solicitors must operate and communicating directly with their client and the other estate agents. Even if the client says that his/her conveyancer isn’t keeping them informed the estate agent should be wary of attempting to find out what is going on. Solicitors will report suspicious activity to NCA and then cannot talk to the client or anyone else for fear of tipping off. Indeed if estate agents made appropriate and accurate checks when they are first instructed that might save delays further along the road. We had one case recently where no questions had been asked of a client who was attempting to sell a property in which he did not live as to how he had acquired it. We then had to make checks and apparently “caused delay” simply because we were complying with AML requirements in checking source of funds and wealth. We were rung several times every day by an estate agent who wanted to know why we weren’t proceeding who clearly couldn’t take the hint.

    A properly functioning real time conveyancing portal to which all interested parties have access has potential to keep everyone informed-but it could also lead to DPA breaches which the ICO will fine heavily.

    In essence the issue is resolved through empathy. Estate Agents need to understand the regulatory framework surrounding-some might say, choking, Solicitors and develop other techniques to establish the state of play which don’t involve daily or even thrice daily requests for information which their client already knows. Start with the client-and if the client isn’t being kept informed, tell the client to raise merry hell with the Solicitor and if dissatisfied at the response or continued failure, to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.

    Just because you are acting for a mutual client places no obligation on a Solicitor to communicate with you and indeed there are rules which we say the Solicitor must not.



    Thanks for an interesting and informative post Emmersons46. This is especially interesting for me as I have had a bad experience with an agent and solicitor over a recent purchase. The solicitor appeared to be freely giving the agent information about our financial position etc. I was a little dismayed when it was obvious the agent was aware of our private information. (eg if they know how much you have, then they know how far they can push, at the time we were renegotiating over issues the surveyor had found)

    And more recently a friends purchase was almost ruined by an agent sabre rattling that both sides were ready to pull out if things didn’t move more quickly, the agent not realising that the vendor and buyer had become friends and were both fully aware and happy with the scope and progress of the sale…

    I feel that once solicitors details have been exchanged the agent should be left out of things other than to let them know relevant dates for keys and when they are likely to get their fees.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 3 months ago by toys19.


    Interesting… a brand new poster dobs up just to reinforce the thoughts of a not-slightly bitter conveyancer.

    Funny, that.

    Any other “I know someone/someone who knows someone/delete where applicable who just happened to…” stories to add to the mix, anyone?


    smile please

    Some nice lazy stereotypes thrown in there about estate agents that have little fact or truth to how they work / operate.

    It makes no difference to a neg if they are paid the commission this month next month or the month after, i have never met a neg motivated by getting their commission earlier (unless they are planning to hand in their notice).

    The reason they push to get it through is because it has been proven every week that goes by after week 6 of the process there is more chance of the chain falling apart.

    If we just “Left it to the solicitors” as requested the process would take far longer than the already ridiculous 12 weeks as standard.

    For conveyancers not to even acknowledge the industry has a problem is in itself the biggest problem!

    Given that conveyancers can (and often in my experience) receive inquiries or need to reply to enquirers and can sit on the desk of said conveyancer for a week upwards without being looked at, this is why we need to chase conveyancers to make sure the chain remains firm.



    Not a stereotype but fact but if it is lazy, then it’s just as lazy as stereotyping all conveyancers based upon the actions (or lack of action) of a few.

    Anyway I didn’t say the “industry” didn’t have a problem I was addressing the issue of estate agents ringing a Solicitor and expecting answers and explaining that the Code of Conduct for Solicitors as well as DPA (Data Protection Act) prevents the sharing of information without the client’s express written instructions. Therefore estate agents complaining that Solicitors won’t tell them what is going on shows a lack of understanding of the professional obligations under which Solicitors operate. In other words it’s a complaint based on ignorance. Hence my suggestion that a more empathic consideration of the entire process (ie understanding why what happens happens) might focus the minds and efforts of some estate agents on the real issues.

    Talking to your client before sending out “what’s happening” emails is not only courteous and professional but would save wasted time and associated cost.

    I wonder what % of all transactions actually collapse and what the recorded reasons are for the collapse and therefore how responsible Solicitors and other legal professionals actually are for the collapse. An evidence-based discussion might help identify the real problems that the process actually experiences.




    Emmersons46 – excellent replies.


    Estate Agent W1

    Do solicitors really not realise that the majority of times we call them is due to our client calling us wanting to know what is going on. I have a number of sales at the moment where the solicitors are c.c.’ing me on most of the communications which is a major plus. They also request my help with managing agents. Other solicitors fail to communicate and these transactions take longer, why, because I can telephone and get documents emailed where most solicitors still use snail mail to obtain information. The best solicitors I use communicate via e-mail with all parties and are extremely efficient.  I can point to numerous transactions that have died due to inefficient solicitors/conveyancers who are too busy and should not have taken on the case in the first instance. In fact I carry a list of these type of solicitors and with my clients permission refuse to agree a sale if the buyer insists in using such firms.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 15 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.