Interview with Sally Cottam, Partner at Langleys Solicitors

Langleys Solicitors has just launched a new conveyancing arm – Home Property Lawyers. Sally Cottam, Partner at Langleys and Director of Home Property Lawyers, told Jane Common at Today’s Conveyancer why it’s all change – but business as usual….

You’ve been with Langleys since 2006 Sally – has Home Property Lawyers been in the pipeline all that time?

“I joined as head of the conveyancing division and in 2011 I became a partner. We’ve been talking about transferring our volume residential conveyancing division into a separate entity for a long time and last year decided to go for it. It took around ten months from the point we decided to go ahead with the transfer to the launch of Home Property Lawyers on 1stOctober 2015.”

What was the thinking behind it?

“It was very simple, really – we wanted to give our conveyancing division its own brand and identity.”

And is the launch of Home Property Lawyers a sign that Langleys wants to strengthen its conveyancing operations?

“Yes, we do want to grow but we want profitable growth, so we have to manage the business carefully. I’m not interested in being the biggest just for the sake of it. We want to look after our clients by giving them support and a great service at what can be a stressful time of their lives and provide our staff with a great place to work and achieve career progression.”

What about Langleys as a whole – is it looking to expand and is the launch of Home Property Lawyers part of this?

“The launch of Home Property Lawyers isn’t part of some aggressive growth strategy – our aim is to achieve profitable growth through having a stable business, offering a great service and minimising risks, both operational and financial. That’s what we’re achieving at the moment and that’s how we plan to carry on.”

What was the process for launching Home Property Lawyers?

“Branding was one of the first things we addressed – coming up with a name and a logo. That was difficult as we had to find a name that described us and what we do and, with so many other names and brands in the profession, that was easier said than done. When we came up with Home Property Lawyers we were thrilled to find it was available. I think it captures perfectly who we are and what we do and we’ve received some great feedback about the name and logo.

“From there we had to obtain authorisation to trade from the SRA; reapply for Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) accreditation; find the right insurance, communicate with our employees and obtain panel approval from lenders. The Lender Exchange portal helped a lot as it’s centralised for several lenders and, I have to say, the people there were very helpful and supportive.

“We set up a project plan and a project team including colleagues from accounts, IT, Q & C, HR and facilities and we met every week to make sure we were on track.

“Once a date was agreed we prepared a communication plan – telling all our existing clients, estate agents, other law firms and sending out promotional gifts to raise brand awareness in the market.”

So, a week after launch, how’s it going?

“Well I’ve just come out of a meeting about the launch and everybody was happy – we all agreed that the planning had paid off and that it has gone smoothly.”

And what plans do you have for the future with Home Property Lawyers?

“We want to develop our business, improving efficiency and service for clients and providing a career path for our staff. While doing that we have to constantly monitor the market and manage the peaks and troughs to ensure we can cope during busy times and manage during quieter times. We’re a major player in the conveyancing arena but we don’t swing from the rafters, shouting about it. Instead we quietly get on with it and that’s how we plan to continue.”

For more information about Home Property Lawyers, log on to www.homepropertylawyers.com.

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