4 ways to spot incompetent conveyancing solicitors

(Last Updated: 07/12/2023)
5 min read
Incompetent Conveyancing Solicitors can add delays to an already time sensitive process. New technology such as scan, email, online ID checks and online stamp duty and land registration filing should be adopted to make sure you can have the fastest conveyancing transaction possible (click to find out ways to achieve this).

Some of the best conveyancing solicitors embrace technology to enable fast communication with their clients and the chain. To achieve this doesn’t require automated systems; phone and email are the greatest tools for the leading solicitors.

Sadly old ways die hard and below, we present the 4 ways to avoid incompetent conveyancing solicitors.

4 ways to avoid incompetent conveyancing solicitors

    I’ve dictated the response
Back in the eighties and nineties conveyancing solicitors would dictate work they wanted written into a hand held dictating machine which they would pass to their secretaries to type.

Conveyancing solicitors using CRM systems handle cases more efficiently and don't delay waiting for their admin team to type up a recorded letter.

Incompetent Conveyancing Solicitors
    I’ll send a fax
Does faxing still exist? Yes. And, sadly, mortgage lenders are still the lone champions of this archaic system.

With that said why can’t everything else be scanned and emailed? The answer is many solicitors now embrace this technology and will accept information sent in this format. 

    Your solicitor will call you back
Conveyancing Solicitors
And never does! This is really annoying and actually wastes more of your solicitor’s time than they are aware of and this is why. 

If you call and can’t get through to your solicitor, it is likely you’ll call your estate agent and your mortgage broker to find out what is going on. 

If they don’t know they’ll then feel they have to chase the other side’s solicitors to see what they can find out. 

If the other side’s solicitors doesn’t know what is happening then the Tsunami of calls is about to hit the one solicitors who didn’t call their client back with their client, estate agent, mortgage broker and otherside solicitors now all about to dial.

This shows how one call out can create, say, 4, 8, 12… calls coming in. Some of the best conveyancing solicitors keep a note of each missed call so that they can either call, or email an update.

My solicitor is ignoring me

    They are in a meeting…constantly
Conveyancing solicitors are busy and the majority of their work during the day can often feel like a fire fight; managing the active calls in and out during office hours and the knuckling down to title checking post 4pm. 

What you may be confused about is why when you call, they always seem to be in a meeting. Considering most solicitors don’t meet their clients face to face nowadays, then this might seem strange.

Sadly constant meetings can all too often mean your solicitor is avoiding your call so that they can focus on your file. 

Now, on one hand, this could mean your solicitor is getting on with the legal work they need to do, but on the other, they are forgetting to keep you, their client, informed of what they are doing.

Good communication by email and phone is the way to win the hearts of your clients, even if the news you have to tell isn’t what they want to hear. 

Most complaints you hear from clients relate to a simple lack of communication during a very confusing process. 

We select our conveyancing solicitors carefully, to make sure you get clear and friendly communication, as well as excellent service.

Fixed Fee – No Sale No Fee – On all Major Lender Panels

How to put pressure on solicitors

You should always have your solicitors contact details, therefore if you are unable to get a response via phone then email your solicitor requesting an update

You should continue to do this up to once a day to ensure you are putting pressure on your solicitor without disrupting their work if they are indeed in the process of working on your file.

You may also find that your estate agent is able to help apply pressure on your solicitor, especially if it was they who introduced you to the solicitor acting for you.

Can I sue my solicitor if they are incompetent?

Yes, the first step would be to make a formal complaint with the solicitor firm and explain how your solicitor has acted incompetent. 

As part of your incompetent conveyancing solicitors claim, it is important you provide evidence that your solicitor has breached the duty of care and how this has caused you a loss for your case to be successful.

You can then proceed with your complaint by contacting the Legal Ombudsman using the following link - Legal Ombudsman

The complaint is then investigated and your solicitor will need to provide evidence of how they have managed your file.

Can you change solicitors if your solicitor is incompetent?

You can and we have a swapping service that makes this simple and does not take up your own time. 

Your new solicitor will request your file from your previous, incompetent conveyancing solicitor, which will contain all work that has been done up until you changed solicitor. 

However, now that you have a new solicitor they will need to conduct their own legal action and will have to look at your case from scratch. 

Luckily, you will now receive regular updates from our solicitors to ensure this part of the process is quick and painless for you.

How can I make sure I choose a solicitor that is not incompetent?

The best step in making sure you choose the right solicitor is by checking the reviews of the solicitor you are looking to choose. Here are the 3 things that can save you the regret of instructing an incompetent conveyancing solicitor:

  • Check the solicitors credentials, make sure they are SRA approved.
  • Check the fees, a cheap solicitor could mean a bad solicitor.
  • Check they are on all mortgage lender panels as this could prevent you having your mortgage disapproved.
  • Check Trustpilot and Google reviews - ignore the 5 star reviews with no written words, be wary of fake reviews that sound insincere and if the overall rating is 4 out of 5 or less then expect issues along the way.

Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

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