Firm wins trio of conveyancing awards!

On Tuesday 25th May 2021, professionals from across the conveyancing sector came together to celebrate the successes and achievements of the industry at The British Conveyancing Awards 2021. 

The inaugural awards took to the virtual stage, and were led by the fabulous award winning broadcaster and journalist Samira Ahmed. If you want a re-cap of the action, the recording is available to view here.

As part of our winner spotlight features, we want to shine a light on those who have been crowned in first place at this year’s event. 

Today we profile Martin Tolhurst Solicitors who won three awards. These are; Best Use of Marketing, Risk and Compliance Champion of the Year and Mental Health and Wellbeing Firm of the Year.

We spoke to them shortly after they heard the news.

How did you feel winning the Best Use of Marketing, Risk and Compliance Champion of the Year and Mental Health and Wellbeing Conveyancing Firm of the Year award?

I am absolutely delighted at our success in these Awards. It was so pleasing to see the hard work of those in our compliance, human resources and marketing departments being recognised for their work. Our HR department have worked hard on making a difference to our staff in their wellbeing and mental health work over the challenging pandemic period. Our marketing department has gone to another level this year and mitigating risk for our clients and our Firm is at the very heart of our conveyancing work.

Tell us about your team and the services you provide.

Martin Tolhurst Solicitors are one of the South East’s largest residential conveyancing firm according to Land Registry figures. We have 5 offices throughout Kent and over 160 staff and partners. We have helped over 20,000 people move home in the last 3 years. Most importantly our clients rate our service highly – in 2020 over 800 clients returned surveys to us and confirmed 95% would use us again or recommend us to friends. That’s a great feeling.

We provide a full range of conveyancing services to assist our clients  including buying a freehold or leasehold property, declarations of trust, new build property, re-mortgages, shared ownership, lease extensions, commercial property, equity release, transfers of equity and lifetime mortgages.

How has your firm developed in the last 14 months and navigated the added complexity of the coronavirus pandemic and SDLT holiday?

Packing up and sending everyone home on the 24th March 2020 after the Government announcement was one of the strangest days of my law career. The next 3 months were challenging as we furloughed a number of staff and had many others working from home. Our IT department and network provided a great platform to carry out home working and keep clients moving where needed. Keeping in touch with all staff during that period was key as there was real uncertainty. Since May 2020 the famine has become a feast and that has brought different challenges. We have made all of our offices COVID compliant and the majority of staff have been working back in offices for months. It remains an extremely busy time and meeting client expectations remains the key challenge we all need to rise to.

What’s next on the cards for you?

Conveyancing never stands still that’s for sure. We are rolling out new on-boarding software (Minerva) across all of our offices after a successful pilot. We are looking to pilot with some partners a project providing more upfront information when a property goes on the market. As someone who lived through the Home Information Packs era I felt it was good idea in principle but badly executed by the then Government. Industry led voluntary schemes will in my view be a better way of ensuring upfront information in the hope we can cut transaction timescales which are far too long.

What advice would you give someone thinking of joining the conveyancing sector?

The property Industry is never dull and there are some fantastic jobs available and careers to be built. I have always enjoyed my career in conveyancing and it is a vital part of the UK economy to be involved in. Spending time on training is the key at the outset and throughout your career in my opinion.

This is the very first British Conveyancing Awards, which recognises the herculean efforts of the industry, why do you think these awards are so important, especially after the last 14 months?

It was great to have something different at this time. So many annual events have been cancelled due to the pandemic so it was great to see something new being launched. The award categories were also different to the norm and gave an opportunity for some critical areas to be judged and awarded. Risk and compliance is an area where the work is essential but unsung and the British Conveyancing Awards shone a welcome light on areas like that.

Everyone at Today’s Conveyancer congratulates all those who entered this year’s awards.

Join in the conversation #BCAwards2021

Today's Conveyancer