Countrywide Conveyancing Services Info
Countrywide Conveyancing Services | CWPL Property Lawyers based in Manchester & Cardiff: Review
Well, I'll start off this article with something very positive to say ... it's going to be short! Yes, if you've managed to drag yourself through some of my previous epics then I'm sure I'm not the only one happy for such to be the case. Usually there are several services, departments, previous setups, staff profiles, etc. that have to be covered when reviewing a law firm. But this time I only have to cover one thing - conveyancing.
Of course, with a name like Countrywide Conveyancing Services there was never going to be a bunch of hidden extras like Will Writing or Tax Advice. So time for me to stop waffling and get on with it. When you first arrive on any of Countrywide's websites (there are a few) you will usually be greeted with an opening paragraph such as this one:
The second statement could possibly be construed as an opinion or the kind of marketing language you've seen written on dozens of websites before. However, that first statement isn't just clever wording. Ad-speak is when you say "we're one of the largest", or "the largest conveyancing firm (*in Croydon)". So without the aid of *small print, does that mean they are in fact the biggest?
Well, whilst you may scoff at the source - Wikipedia agrees with them. Started in 1986, Countrywide is currently the UK's largest estate agency group employing over 11,000 people across more than 1,500 estate/letting agencies operating under almost 50 different brands. The CCS setup is the largest UK transactional conveyancing business based on completions - covering sales and purchases (freehold or leasehold), remortgages, and even separate legal representations.
Countrywide Conveyancing Services is a trading name of Countrywide Property Lawyers Ltd which is an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers. Alternative business structures were introduced back in 2007, but didn't actually get going until 2012. We believe it's mostly because of the media coverage initially coming out against the idea, dubbing it "Tesco Law" because it allowed non-solicitors to own and run a legal practice. This resulted in a poll asking people if they would use an ABS coming back with only 1% saying 'yes'. Fortunately, both the media and public perception has changed. To be honest, being a qualified solicitor doesn't make you an instant businessman and we saw reports that over a thousand law firms had to close their doors each year following the recession.
There are always other benefits of using a large firm, such as the technology they invest in. CCS is no exception with things like online case tracking and electronic ID checks. You also get multi-language support and:
Countrywide do display some consumer reviews on their website, but they are the standard "you deliver", "worth every penny", "would definitely recommend", "would certainly use again" reviews that you see on most firms site's. That's not a negative feature, it's just that generic statements don't always help when deciding to use a firm. Considering the increasingly complex world of conveyancing (especially with the often un-followable rules on Stamp Duty) I'm sure people would rather see some case examples where 'Mr A' had a problem that Countrywide solved by doing 'X'. Something to show the extra expertise available.
As for actual complaints, I don't have any to share right now other than the number of websites operated by Countrywide is ... considerable. We link to www.countrywide-conveyancing.co.uk from this page (www.countrywideconveyancing.co.uk is blank) but the main websites seem to be www.cwpl.com and www.cwpl.co.uk which currently display the exact same information. www.countrywide.co.uk is also available, however www.countrywide.com goes to an American firm. There's also www.cwconveyancing.co.uk and others, not to mention all the extra individual brands amongst their portfolio. So we absolutely 100% recommend bookmarking the site once you land on it to make sure you come back to the right place. Sadly with individually generic terms such as "countrywide", "conveyancing", and "services" it is possible to run into a few fraudsters along the way if you start scrambling around the web looking for the right place.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with Countrywide Conveyancing Services it's best to visit the website (www.cwconveyancing.co.uk), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
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