Interview with Nick Masheder, Managing Partner at Beaumont Legal

According to the latest Land Registry figures Beaumont Legal has become one of the largest conveyancers in Britain. Managing Partner Nick Masheder shared the secrets of Beaumont’s success with Today’s Conveyancer…

Why do you think Beaumont is rising up the rankings?

“I think it’s because we’re ambitious, it’s about the service we give to clients and the quality we promote. One of our big strengths is that we’re still a solicitor-led environment – our teams are made up of legally qualified people and that’s what clients want. They want to be able to speak to a lawyer and if their lawyer isn’t available they want to speak to another experienced person on the team so they come away from the conversation with the answers they need. In this day and age time is of the essence and immediacy is everything.”

Did you celebrate the rankings?

“We have a celebration on the last Friday of every month when we finish at 4.30pm, gather all the staff together and one of the four partners gives an update on how business is going. We call it the Cava & Corona Cascade – everyone gets a drink and that’s when we deliver our good news stories.

“We’re one team at the end of the day and everyone should be involved. There’s a nice feel here – the firm has grown a lot but everyone is still really close. We’ve just launched a new set of internal values for the business – one is to be proud and another is to have a can-do-will-do attitude – because we want to maintain what makes Beaumont Legal unique as we grow.”

It sounds quite a fun place to work?

“I hope so. There are daft things that we’ve kept since being a small firm, like everybody gets an egg at Easter and an advent calendar at Christmas and, on the last Friday of every month, not only do we do the Cava and Corona at the end of the day – we buy everyone their breakfast sandwich at the start of the day.

“We also do fundraising, which is led by the team. Members of staff nominate charities which mean something to them personally and then they’re drawn out of the hat so that each month we have a chosen good cause we support with dress down days or cake baking or similar.

“Our Christmas party’s always a good one and the summer version of that is a dragon boat race. We all head to the local lake here in Wakefield, everyone brings their families, we have a marquee and one of the partners acts as “Head Chef” on the barbecue.”

How many staff do you have?

“We have 150 now, all based in Wakefield. We opened a second office here during the early part of last year that houses our training academy and our re-mortgage teams.

“A lot of firms seem to be having recruitment problems – people are happy to stay where they are rather than moving – so we took the view that we need to grow our own talent. And we have some great tie-ups with the local universities – we’re getting fantastic graduates.

“We put them on a training plan where, even if they start with no legal experience, within two or three years they can be up to team leader level. It’s a modular programme so achieving a new module is a minimum of an extra £1000 on the salary. We have solicitor training contracts for some but not everybody wants to be a solicitor so if they don’t want to go down that route we support them to go for their licensed conveyancer’s or CILEX.

“One thing we’re proud of here is the longevity of service. Conveyancing is a stressful job and there’s a lot of pressure. If we can make this an enjoyable place to work staff will stay with us. And we’re carrying on recruiting – we’re hoping to push up to the 200 mark over the next 12 months.”

How long have you been with Beaumont Legal?

“It will be 13 years in the summer. I started out as a trainee – all the partners did, in fact, so that’s a nice advertisement that progression through the firm is possible and hard work pays off. Stick at it where you are and the rewards are there.”

What do you see as the big challenges in the conveyancing market at the moment?

“There’s a shortage of houses and pressure on people to get on the property ladder so when someone does find the home of their dreams they push like crazy to get it and we have to do what we can to help. And then there’s uncertainty over interest rates – I’m sure that will impact when they change. The real challenges for any conveyancer, though, are continuing to deliver the best for their clients and finding innovative ways to do that.”

What strategies does Beaumont have in place for maintaining its position – and possibly even improving it?

“A year and a half ago, we said we had ambitions to become the largest solicitors’ firm in the country and that raised a few eyebrows as back then we were only just nudging into the top ten in the Land Registry figures. But really, anything is possible if we just embrace what we do now and keep moving forward.”

“Nobody can afford to stand still in this day and age and there has to be a real push on technology. Clients wants access to their information at 11pm at night or on the train on the way to work. They want to be involved in the transaction and everyone has to offer a modern approach so currently we are looking at our online offering and hoping to be able to give the client something different.

“It’s a case of continuing to do the basics right and everything should follow. Like any profession, you’re only good as your last job. We’re really proud of the amount of recommendations we receive and that’s a good source of work along with panels and specific referrals.

“Everybody likes healthy competition – it’s what keeps us on our toes and makes the wheels turn round – and at the end of the day it can only be good for the industry if we are all striving to deliver the best for the clients.”

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