Carbon Neutral Newtons is a carbon neutral business - Learn more about this Newtons is a carbon neutral business

Personalised Property Law

Posted: 28th March 2024
Written by: Eden Goldie

Personalised property

Eden Goldie, a senior residential conveyancing executive based at our Penrith office, has written this incredible article about her experiences as a conveyancer and why it’s so important that you pick the right conveyancer for you.

Please get in touch with us today if you would like to discuss what a conveyancer can do for you, or read the original post on LinkedIn.

Property is usually the biggest investment and asset you will own and thus it should go without saying that care should be taken when dealing with it. Whether you’re buying, selling, transferring, remortgaging or letting out your property, there are important matters which should be considered by an experienced Conveyancer to ensure there are no issues which may come back to haunt you.

I pride myself on the transparency and honesty I offer clients, whether that involves fees, legal issues or (in this case) my vast experience which enables me to say it how it is (having seen both sides of the coin).

Person typing on a laptop

My Experience

I started as an Assistant and quickly realised that Conveyancing was the career for me. I enjoyed working with people from all walks of life, I thrived on the chaos, and I loved being part of such a big milestone…all of those things remain my favourite parts of my job.

The Conveyancer I worked for allowed me to be as “hands on” as I wanted (which was very) and I ultimately learned on the job. At the end of my time with said firm, I was a Trainee with my own small caseload, but they didn’t have the capacity to give me a full caseload and the Fee Earner I worked for didn’t want to lose me as an assistant….so it was time to say a sad goodbye.

The next firm took me on as a fully-fledged fee earner and quickly admitted that I was more experienced than they had realised, thanks to my previous boss, which was reassuring and a source of motivation for me. I worked hard, brought Agents on board and stayed with them until early in the pandemic. I was happy doing the job, but it didn’t feel like anything more to me, which I missed. Plus, I’d had a taste of “networking”, and something had pulled me in.

Firm number three was the start of something special, a remote role for a start-up company based on the other side of the country. I helped build the business and was promoted to Associate as well as being gifted shares, which is still one of my greatest achievements. A new firm allowed me to work exactly how I wanted to and, without giving away all of my trade secrets, there was a huge gap in the market that we hit as a result.

I built a really close relationship with the women I worked with and, while it was the hardest I’d ever worked at that point, it finally satisfied that something I had been longing for. Additionally, working for a Southern firm opened up a whole host of new experiences skills-wise. I was used to working with rural properties with only 20% of my files being leasehold – to suddenly having a largely leasehold caseload, which has now become another of my favourite parts of the job.

Leaving that firm was a sad day, but the strains of the pandemic had started to impact us all and job security quickly became a priority. This is where I learned that “the grass isn’t always greener” and, while I don’t regret it because I now know that way of working isn’t for me, I joined a “Factory Firm!”

Distant photo of a factory

My Brief Experience at a “Factory Firm”

If you’re not familiar with the term, a “Factory Firm” (though they regularly call themselves “volume firms”) has hundreds of staff and essentially treats the Conveyancing process as a production line. You’ll likely have one team to issue a quote, another to “onboard” you, a case handler (“Lawyer”) to work on your file and to provide you with updates…and there will be several other teams behind the scenes. Some factory firms also off-shore their work, though that’s not obvious to the clients.

Of course, having built a career in Conveyancing over a period of years, I had heard all of the usual stories about factory firms and “tick box Conveyancing” (which I will get to later) but any concerns I had were put at ease by the firm and a big company felt safe to me. I never could have imagined how different it would be.

Suddenly, I was in a world of predictions, pipeline meetings, exchange targets and rag reports (one of many spreadsheets sharing the likelihood of files Exchanging that month). I was used to having a system to help me but it quickly transpired that I was there simply to help the system. The reports were generated by clicking through a series of screens and ticking the relevant boxes, then adding standard wording here-and-there where necessary. There was no autonomy and no opportunity to build a relationship with clients…but plenty of room for error.

You don’t have to be qualified to be a Conveyancer; I wasn’t for years and some of the best Conveyancers I have worked with have chosen not to become licensed, but it was at this firm that I realised “Lawyer” is not a protected term. People with only a few months experience as an assistant were given freehold sales and called a “Property Lawyer” which, through no fault of their own inexperience, completely diminishes those who have spent years mastering their craft.

Combine that inexperience with tick-boxes and you’ve essentially got a firm of people sending out letters they don’t understand to clients they’ve barely spoken to. Everything I love about the profession was gone.

The team leaders weren’t chosen on ability and were unable to assist with complex questions, that fell on the more experienced Lawyers that had joined from other firms; they simply chased up your Exchanges and reported back to the big bosses. The years of building my knowledge to be able to work on complex files, of working up the career ladder, and of building friendships with my clients were all completely wasted there. I was glorified admin.

Truly, the only reason I am not embarrassed about spending a few months at a Factory Firm is because it gave me an understanding of what they are really about (or this particular firm, at least) and how it simply does not sit right with me that such an important part of someone’s life can be treated as another file on the conveyor belt. It has made me even more determined to let clients know that their matter…matters!

Two people carrying boxes

Moving on (pardon the pun)

Now, I think we can all agree that I haven’t been a one-firm kind of woman, let’s address that elephant in the room.

Different people find job satisfaction and motivation in different things and mine has always been to find a company that I love as much I love the job. I am lucky in that I have gained a lot of experience in areas I wouldn’t have had at just one firm and that has given me the confidence to build my knowledge on complex cases, which now make up the majority of my caseload. I have also been fortunate enough to gain an understanding of the kind of environment I want to see out the rest of my career in.

Evidently my heart belongs with a highstreet firm, I’ve developed a penchant for networking and I thrive when I am treated as though I more than a number and can treat clients in the same manner. I love building a department from scratch, cementing close working relationships with Brokers, Agents and Clients and it is important to me to be an integral part of a firm.

Person typing on a laptop

Where am I now?

I assisted with the opening of Newtons Solicitor’s Penrith office in August 2023 and we have gone from strength to strength together since then. I work how I work best again; communicating with my clients and those I work alongside on a regular basis.

I’ve grown the Cumbrian Conveyancing department by sourcing like-minded, passionate property professionals (shout-out to the wonderful Estate Agents and Brokers that make my job so much easier and enjoyable) to ensure that every transaction is treated with the tailored service it deserves.

So, I hope this provides an insight into why choosing your Conveyancer carefully is important. A factory firm may well be better suited to your preferences but, if you want a personal, bespoke and “human” service (which I highly recommend when dealing with something as important as property) then I would be more than happy to guide you through the process.

If you, too, value a personal, bespoke service when it comes to property conveyancing, you can contact Eden Goldie directly or get in touch to discuss your case with our residential property team.