Conveyancer Spotlight – PM Property Lawyers

Based in Sheffield, PM Property Lawyers offers their specialist services nationwide, handling all areas of property law from conveyancing to neighbour disputes.

Established in 2015, the company evolved from a specialist department of PM Law circa 2012 to its own independent property transfer business, accredited by the Law Society. In a short space of time, the company has grown to over 50 employees, and will this year handle over 3500 transactional matters plus a growing number of remortgage transactions.

Having recognised the need to meet the changing needs of the consumer and utilise the latest technology, the firm’s key values are rooted in clear communication with the consumer and innovation; given the complexity around the transaction process and the new methods of correspondence which clients are using, PMPL are eager to ensure the service they provide and engagement with their clients is adapting accordingly.

PMPL’s Key Information

Location – Sheffield

Years in business – 2

Expertise – Conveyancing, Wills Trust & Probate, Property Disputes, Tenant & Landlord Disputes, Commercial Property, Buying Or Selling A Business

Accreditations – Conveyancing Quality Standard, Membership of the Conveyancing Association

Awards – ESTAS 2017: Bronze Best Conveyancer in Yorkshire

Shortlisted – LFS 2017: Best Social Media/Website (North), Modern Law Awards 2017: Business Growth

Managing Director – Harvey Harding

The core values are shared by all staff throughout the firm, with client care, communication and professionalism prioritised by each member of the team.

2017 was a memorable year for PMPL seeing them secure shortlisting for three awards for their commitment to and achievements within the conveyancing market.

The firm got 2017 off to a strong start, reflected in their move to join the top UK conveyancing firms as a member of the Conveyancing Association. As strong advocates of the organisation’s campaign to modernise the process, the firm were eager to be fully involved, and help shape the profession to best benefit the consumer.

Membership also provided access to a wide range of new training tools, furthering the in-house development of the team and building on existing key skills.

Just a few months later, PMPL were pleased to take the training of staff one step further, introducing their new in-house programme – the PM Passport.

Enabling everyone from entry-level apprentices to further their careers, the training puts employees on the right track to become a senior property lawyers.

With an aim to identify stand out candidates and ensure they maximise their potential, the scheme trains them in every aspect of the conveyancing process. This training is then recorded in their PM Passport, which they are then able to carry throughout their career, demonstrating the qualifications and skills obtained.

The success of the scheme came to fruition during the summer, when PMPL was delighted to announce that the first of the trainees had graduated from the scheme.

Summer 2017 also saw the firm included in the Law Firm Services Conveyancing Awards, shortlisted in the Website/Social Media (North) category.

Considering the growing reliance which consumers place on searching for a professional online, this shortlisting demonstrates just how in touch with consumer demand the firm are, consistently striving to stay ahead of the curve.

In October, the firm received an ESTAS award, further reflection of their commitment to ensuring their clients receive a high standard of service. Though most firms will strive to encase these values within each transaction, few will manage to realise if they have indeed done so. Of course, the one thing which can signal the high quality of a firm’s service is client opinion, and it’s this which PMPL received in the form of the Bronze Award for the Best Conveyancing Firm in Yorkshire category.

Based purely on the feedback of consumers, the ESTAS Conveyancer Awards highlight firms who have delivered a high level of customer service throughout the home moving process.

As well as the hard work and training which PMPL clearly displayed throughout the year, it was the additional things they undertook and extra achievements they pursued which sets them apart from many other firms.

Acknowledging the reality of living with dementia and the fact that it can, therefore, become part of the moving process, the team took the time to train as dementia friends. The firm pride themselves on treating all clients with respect and dignity, as well as striving to meet their needs; becoming a dementia friend enabled the conveyancing team to gain a greater understanding of seeing things from a client perspective and how any challenges could be taken into account.

There is an active charity committee at PMPL and 2017 saw the team come together to tackle numerous fundraising activities. These ranged from the very active (running a marathon and skydiving for the local hospice, abseiling 120ft for the Red Cross) to less strenuous events such as collecting food and essential items for the Roundabout youth homelessness charity, helping out at a play scheme for autistic children, making up shoeboxes for disadvantaged children and baking cakes and buns. The year ended with a team of brave souls enduring a sleep-out in freezing conditions to raise further funds for Roundabout.

Fast forwarding to 2018, the team are pleased to be a key part of an innovative movement which aims to develop the way in which technology is used within the legal sector. Since its inception in America around six years ago, the Legal Hackers movement has now launched a new chapter in Sheffield, setting out to identify issues with technology in law and additional opportunities as to where it could be implemented.

Helping to ensure that every client receives a standard of service which is tailored to their requirements, PMPL are continually looking at ways to refine their approach and regularly work with specialist organisations to help them achieve this. For example, recognising the importance of client’s differing needs, the firm have recently consulted with Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind regarding how they can customise their services to benefit visually impaired clients. Adopted measures so far include providing documents in a user-friendly format which clients can print at home, as well as sending out signature guides for clients, ensuring that they sign documents correctly.

As well tailoring documentation to client needs, PMPL also see their staff as fundamental when it comes to service delivery, prioritising staff training as a way to continually develop and improve this. For example, they are currently in the planning stages of training staff to learn sign language, widening their skill set to improve legal service access for a greater range of clients.

In addition to the specialist team and progressive internal structure, the firm’s achievements are supported by its accreditations and professional memberships.

Not only do these demonstrate to the consumer that the trusted firm has successfully achieved a certain standard, it promotes a healthy business culture and professional attitude among team members.

As well as being a member of the Conveyancing Association, the firm also possesses the Conveyancing Quality Standard from the Law Society. Demonstrating their commitment to delivering high standards, the mark also demonstrates the firm’s positive community attitude, working with other conveyancing firms to minimise risk and prevent fraud.

What to expect in 2018 from PMPL?

Susan Clegg, Marketing Manager, says: “Our client app and portal is at the testing stage and will go live within the next few months. This will provide clients with real time information, instant updates at key points in their transaction, and speedy, secure electronic uploading of documents.

We are also putting key documents online so clients can complete them more quickly and easily and start the whole process as fast as possible.

We are further developing the PMPL website to become an essential resource for home buyers/sellers with video guides on a wide range of subjects.

We embrace the Government’s view of the importance of educating and informing the public as to what is actually involved in conveyancing. Throughout the remainder of 2018 we will be creating more guides and videos in an easily accessible format to answer the key questions we hear from our clients.”

PMPL’s market predictions for 2018

Managing Director, Harvey Harding states: “In light of the CMA’s report on improving competition in the legal sector, there’s sure to be a greater drive within the industry and regulatory authorities toward price transparency.  The Government’s proposals following their Call For Evidence similarly indicate a shake up of the estate agency market, and it’ll be interesting to see how these changes affect the profession should they come into force. Further, I also anticipate real growth in remortgage with the planned interest rate rises.”

Today's Conveyancer