A licensed conveyancer specialises in property law and deals with the legal matters surrounding the buying and selling of property.
As a licensed conveyancer, you will advise clients on all aspects of the buying or selling process, including legal issues, finances and contracts. Your day-to-day activities will involve a great deal of research and drafting documents, as well as speaking with clients and giving legal advice. You will have the same authority as a solicitor to act in conveyancing transactions. When you qualify as a licensed conveyancer, you also become a Commissioner for Oaths, which gives you the legal authority to witness and administer legal documents.
Some licensed conveyancers qualify by passing the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) Qualification. Others are already qualified solicitors or chartered legal executives and can apply for a license without passing the exam.
If you have a strong interest in the law and in property law in particular, have a good eye for detail and are confident speaking with clients, a career as a licensed conveyancer might be the path for you.
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The day-to-day responsibilities might include:
- Communicating with clients to receive instructions and give advice.
- Researching details about the property being bought or sold, such as finding out who is the legal owner.
- Drafting official documents, such as contracts which include details of the sale.
- Checking contracts on behalf of your clients.
- Working with estate agents and solicitors.
- Keeping official records of payments and contracts.
- Working with Land Registry documents and title deeds.
- Carrying out checks prior to drafting contracts to see if there are any structural issues with the property.
- Dealing with the transfer of mortgage deeds.
To become a licensed conveyancer, you must pass the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) Qualification. To begin studying for your CLC exams you will usually need to have achieved a minimum of 4 GCSEs at grades A* to C (9-4). Further qualifications, such as A-levels or a degree, will increase your chance of being accepted.
You will need to pass both the Level 4 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice and the Level 6 Diploma in Conveyancing Law and Practice. The Level 4 Diploma covers modules such as The English Legal System and Standard Conveyancing Transactions. The diploma is the equivalent to the first year of an undergraduate degree and takes between 18 and 24 months to complete. The Level 6 Diploma covers modules such as Conveyancing Law and Practice and Managing Client and Office Accounts. This course typically takes between 21 and 30 months to complete. You will also need to complete 1200 hours of practical experience before you can apply for a licence to work as a qualified CLC lawyer. The combined fees for these courses are usually around £6,500 – £7,600. The CLC have some further advice to trainee lawyers on their website.
Some licensed conveyancers are qualified solicitors or legal executives. If you are already qualified as a lawyer through another route, you don’t need to pass the CLC exams but you will have to apply to the CLC for a license to practice.
Our map below shows the usual qualifying route to becoming a licensed conveyancer. The dotted pathways show alternative routes.
An eye for detail: You will be dealing with many legal and official documents so the ability to be accurate with your research is essential.
Mathematical skill: Many of your responsibilities will involve dealing with money.
Communication skills: You will need to be able to communicate your advice to clients and work with estate agents and solicitors.
Problem solving skills: This is important for ensuring that your clients aren’t at risk of any fraud or issues with the property.
IT skills: As records are increasingly being kept on computerised systems you will need a good level of computer literacy.
Negotiation skills: Important for getting the best deal for your clients and protecting their best interests.
Written communication skills: There will be a great deal of reporting and drafting of official documents so good writing skills are important.
Research skills: To ensure that you have a thorough understanding of each case.
Starting salary: £16,000 to £20,000
Junior: £25,000 to £50,000 (after passing the CLC qualification and a few years’ experience)
Senior: £50,000 to £60,000
Salaries are intended as a guide and the amount earned will depend on location and the type of employer. Owners or partners of conveyancing firms will potentially earn upwards of £60,000.
As a licensed conveyancer, you will need to do regular training known as continuing professional development (CPD). There is a minimum of six hours to complete for each year you hold a license. As you progress to more senior roles, you will have to complete more hours of training every year.
Many licensed conveyancers aim to take on supervisory responsibilities as their career progresses. Depending on the size of the company, you may rise to managerial levels and take charge of a legal team.
With further study you could gain an additional license which will allow you to deal with probate.
You could become self-employed as a licensed conveyancer. You will need to have built up a further three years’ of experience after passing the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) qualification before you will become eligible to apply for a full license. This will allow you to run your own business or enter into partnerships.
Some licenced conveyancers decide to progress into other areas of law. With further study and achieving the right qualifications, some conveyancers become solicitors.
Please note that conveyancing in Scotland is usually the work of solicitors. See The Law Society of Scotland website for more information on working as a lawyer in Scotland.
To find out more, take a look at our licensed conveyancer jobs on Simply Law Jobs.
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