High street law firms need to be proactive say SRA

Speaking on behalf of the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) this week at the Conveyancing Association’s (CA) All Members Meeting, Samantha Barrass has said that with much of the debate over Alternative Business Structures being focused on big firms, smaller high street firms also need to focus and be more proactive to ensure their future security.
Commenting, Ms Barrass said:
“Once we’re ready to take applications – which we hope will be in December – I don’t think we’ll just see the big firms enter the ABS market. There is a huge opportunity for high street firms and local estate agents so I would be surprised if they didn’t attempt to use these reforms to re-focus their business and widen their service offerings.”
Commenting about the ABS delays Ms Barrass also said:
“We share the frustration of potential ABS applicants about the delay in implementation, and are working with the Legal Services Board and Ministry of Justice to get early clarity about the parliamentary timetable but we hope to be taking applications in December.”
The forthcoming changes represent challenges to some firms, those that don’t believe they need to change, but for others the changes represent an opportunity to create additional revenue streams and improve services.
Chairman of CA, Eddie Goldsmith commented:
“Ms Barrass could not emphasise the changing landscape enough — we know that current market conditions have created a perfect storm and a valuable opportunity for serious conveyancers to proactively innovate and improve their services. She’s absolutely right that we need to ensure we can demonstrate good compliance and risk management — as lenders assess their conveyancing panels as mortgage fraud rises, this is more important than ever.
The CA and its members recognise that lenders will only want to work with conveyancers who offer a superior service, can demonstrate high quality standards, competence and probity of staff, financial stability, and good management of staff and administrative processes. So it’s time for serious conveyancers to really step up their game and prove their worth.”
We would love to hear your views on ABS — do they represent a challenge or an opportunity for your firm?  Are you thinking of entering the ABS marketplace?
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