Law Society’s £5m conveyancing venture in upheaval after key departures

There is major upheaval at Veyo – the Law Society’s flagship portal into which it has poured millions and which is meant to be the future of conveyancing.

A number of people have quit including the CEO, the chairman – who has been replaced by a turn-around specialist – and several key members of staff.

Included in the latter are Stefanie van den Haak, who left in August and has now joined conveyancing search firm SearchFlow, as has Maud Rousseau.

At SearchFlow they become, respectively, commercial director and group marketing and communications director – the same roles they had at Veyo.

Both were with Veyo this year, for a matter of months.

At SearchFlow, they are joined by Vicki Fletcher, who formerly handled Veyo’s PR.

Already working at SearchFlow is another ex-Veyo employee, Richard Garland, who quit in August after just eight months.

Yet another ex-Veyo employee now at SearchFlow is marketing communications executive Sam Hudson, who left after only five months.

SearchFlow, part of the Daily Mail’s DMGT, has ambitious plans to expand its product and service offering next year.

Van den Haak and Rousseau have been tasked to completely rebuild its brand.

Van den Haak has over 20 years’ experience in sales and business development roles within the legal sector, while Rousseau was the highly successful in-house PR at Rightmove.

Back in April, Veyo chief executive Elliott Vigar left, shortly after talking to EYE about his plans for the portal and how it would benefit estate agents. He now concentrates full-time on his senior role at the Law Society.

Vigar was succeeded by an interim chief executive, Nigel Spencer, with the permanent appointment of Simon Drane announced last week.

Veyo is a joint venture with technology firm Mastek (UK).

Veyo launched weeks later than had been speculated, at the end of May this year, aiming to provide a platform that would speed up and streamline the conveyancing process.

By then, Vigar had already departed and it was left to then chairman Desmond Hudson – who has also since moved on – to pronounce: “This initial go-live of Veyo marks the start of an exciting revolution in the conveyancing market.

“As an industry first it’s crucial that we roll the product out strategically, and our regional, targeted approach ensures that we can build a solid foundation in which the Veyo community can grow.

“With the home-buying process due to become much more efficient, secure and transparent, and over 1,800 conveyancing firms in England and Wales having registered interest in using Veyo already, the company is set to transform the whole market.”

However, it is understood that the launch has failed to roll out properly, leading to internal frustrations.

Hudson, former chief executive of the Law Society, left Veyo in August and has been succeeded by Ian Gray, a professional turn-around specialist.

New chief executive Simon Drane said on taking up his post: “The first job for any new CEO is to review and evaluate the product.

“This will identify what needs to be done to make Veyo available to conveyancers as soon as we are satisfied that it has the functions and usability to be a market leader.”

The Law Society has invested over £5m in Legal Practice Technologies, the joint venture set up to deliver Veyo.

Veyo itself is due to be featured at the Law Society’s national property law conference this Friday.

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  1. Typhoon

    Aaaggghhh stop stop Im lost. So many changes. When the music stops looks like there will be more chairs than bums to sit on them ! Law society didn’t do a great job on restrictive trading covenants eh?

  2. Rob Hailstone

    Fear not, Free2Convey is on the way!
    Free2Convey is the Free to Use Conveyancing Portal backed by the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) and all of the main Suppliers of Software to Law Firms in the UK.

  3. smile please

    I am not even going to pretend i know what Veyo and searchflow are all about, as for freetoconvey a cheap tasteless plug will not win you any friends here.

    What i will say is the current service legal professionals give to agents and the paying client is abysmal.

    Until they look at service they offer and stop hiding behind the “It takes as long as it takes” mantra nothing will change.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    I think that online conveyancing has a long way to go before it will be fit for purpose. That’s not a problem with the concept – rather the execution.

    Having one lead conveyancer trying to sort out hundreds of case files with teams of under experienced junior staff is without doubt a recipe for disaster.

    Unfortunately the Great British Public seem to be programmed to buy on price alone rather than quality.

    If something like Veyo can help our good quality local solicitors give a better service and reduce their costs so they can compete then I’m all for it.  The idea is a good concept – it is basically a back and forth tick list where you can upload/ download various documents specific to a property transaction – if you can get all the solicitors using it then surely everyone should be on it NOW.

    1. smile please

      I agree, online conveyancing is such a drain to deal with for all the reasons you point out.

      However i would say the same for “Local Solicitors” – I cannot see how an online tick sheet will help the process, Solicitors know the process / boxes to tick. They just do not do it in a timely manner.

      I am sure you, like I, have dealings with solicitors with “Online tracking” these online tracking systems are never kept uptodate and more often than not are all ticked after completion!

      Anything that will improve timescales and service i am in favour of but i still stand by its attitudes that need the biggest change.


  5. Rob Hailstone

    smile please, that “cheap tasteless plug” did not come from Free2Convey but from me, simply because I think it might have legs and is worth a look. Unlike Veyo, it will be going live this year. Unlike Veyo, it will be FREE for conveyancers to use.
    Not many of you will want to hear this but most conveyancers are doing their best. We have a busy market, staff shortages and more rules and regulations to follow than ever before. The process is clogged up with red tape and bureaucracy and needs improving. That might be Free2Convey, it might even be Veyo or some other process or system. By the way, neither are an “online tick sheet”.


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