Squid Game, ‘green light, red light’ – The journey to regulation!

After 9 months we are finally approved and regulated by The Council of Licensed Conveyancers. It hasn’t been easy, on occasion it felt we were participating in a new level of Squid Game, ‘green light, red light’ I hear you shout.

After the ‘tug of war’ through PII renewal we ended up with two quotes and moved apprehensively towards CLC approval. Thankfully the process with the CLC was quicker than expected the turnaround and feedback we received was brilliant. Special thanks to Claire Richardson and Megan Tyler for their support.

We are delighted to be trading, but that is not the end as we now move to lender panel appointment and recruitment.

My expectation is the lender panel appointment for those lenders that do not require 120 transactions will be straight forward. After all we have insurance, we have demonstrated our policies, processes and controls are compliant and are in place. I hope I am not disappointed.

I do wonder why some lenders require 120 registrations before being accepted onto their panel. This appears to put the law firms at a higher risk seeking ‘cash buy’ transactions to increase numbers when juggling start-up costs. What are lenders looking for, risk management, supervision, insurance, quality of work? This forms part of the regulatory and insurance requirements, having been through the rigorous process if something is not aligned you don’t move forward (red light). If we are a regulated business, why is there a further hurdle to jump for some panel appointments. Would it be more realistic to have a level playing field based on quality markers, compliance, service and turnaround times. What are we demonstrating by completing 120 purchase cases?

Covid/SDLT/LTT has been extremely difficult for conveyancers, working long hours, having increased caseloads and supporting demanding clients. Conveyancers have been absolute trojans working through such a long challenging period. I considered how to structure Sail Legal to not only recognise the hard work and effort of colleagues but also reward commitment. Some traditional leaders may say reward is ‘a job and a regular salary.’ Those are the same leaders with high attrition rates and disengaged colleagues.

From a regulatory perspective we obviously require the correct structure and frameworks, but do we really want to continue down a traditional law firm route where focus is on the system, the product and service, finance rules and employees are seen as products or numbers as opposed to colleagues. The clear answer for Sail Legal is, no.

Financial, strategic and operational management supervision plays a critical path in any organisation but the leadership structure at Sail Legal is different. We work in a more collaborative, flatter structure where we are all the same, we all contribute, and we all have visibility of what we want to achieve and performance. We did not want to create a ‘top down’ faceless decision approach, high caseloads and ineffective support.

We agreed the 9 to 5 hours of working were dead and buried. Working from an office or at home is a choice as opposed to a regime. Training is not just a word to be bounded about without any fundamental career path, or a sticky plaster to tick a compliance box.

Trust forms the centre of everything we do. We trust our colleagues to provide hard work, commitment and an excellent, client informed, risk managed service.

Our objective is to create a community for all colleagues to thrive. In our first year everyone will have the opportunity to be allocated shares in the business. Why wouldn’t we share success with the colleagues that can make the change happen after all we have achieved it together, why should only a few be rewarded.

It is not a radical way of working, just a recognition our colleagues are the most important integral part of our business. The bottom line is we are a team with the same objective – to take positive steps to change the tradition.

Green light – we are recruiting.

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