Quality not quantity

As firms begin thinking about renewing their professional indemnity insurance, the Law Society has warned conveyancing solicitors to ignore its new Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS) ‘at their risk’.

Since the application process launched in January, almost 1000 firms have applied and 202 have been accredited.

Chancery Lane has reminded firms that mortgage lenders, consumer and insurers will be looking for the quality mark.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: ‘With 202 firms now accredited and another 750 applications to be assessed, CQS has arrived and is clearly on the home buying industry's radar as a key requirement for conveyancing solicitors.’

Accredited firms have already reported that new clients are checking whether they have the accreditation, and high volumes of traffic online are going to CQS firms via the consumer website.

‘Firms without CQS accreditation could find themselves left behind,’ said Hudson.

He added that while the number of accredited firms ‘might look low’, the process was not intended to be ‘rubber-stamping exercise’, and firms are thoroughly assessed on a range of factors, including client care.

‘This is not just some marketing gimmick. Quality in relation to CQS means quality rather than simply being a label,’ he said.

In relation to insurance renewals, Hudson commented: ‘We cannot know for sure whether CQS will be a factor in PII premiums for conveyancing firms, but the fact the scheme is supported by insurers suggests that CQS cannot be anything other than a positive step for PII.’

He added: ‘Firms need to ask themselves whether it is worth the risk in not seeking to secure CQS accreditation.’