Case study

Senior conveyancer — Liam Douglas

It was a suggestion from a school careers adviser that first introduced Liam to the possibility of a legal career. After completing the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma he is now a chartered legal executive and senior conveyancer at Enact Conveyancing in Leeds

What course did you study and where?

I studied for an LLB Teesside University and then the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma.

How did you get your job?

Like many budding lawyers, I thought I was on track to become a solicitor. Yet, the lack of training contracts soon dissuaded me.

Fortunately, the experience I gained from my LLB enabled me to get a position as a conveyancing executive at Langleys Solicitors. This is where I found out about the CILEx Graduate Fast-Track Diploma and Langleys sponsored me to study, which I did through CILEx Law School.

Just as I was completing the course, there were some changes at my firm, which resulted in the closure of the office I worked in. However, thanks to a former colleague who had moved to a conveyancing firm in the area, I found a job as a senior conveyancer at Enact Conveyancing just as I was qualifying.

What's a typical day like as conveyancer?

It is naturally varied and fast-paced but it will usually start with me looking at what has come in by post and messages from clients via our online case tracker. Title checks make up another big part of the role, as does raising enquiries with the other side.

What do you enjoy about your job?

It might sound counterintuitive but I enjoy dealing with things that aren't straightforward. Even though the volumes are high, no transaction is the same.

I'm fortunate that I have moved into another great firm, working alongside people with a mix of backgrounds, some are solicitors, some licensed conveyancers and some are chartered legal executives like me. We all do the same work, so it is quite gratifying that my decision not to take the LPC and get into the race for training contacts paid off.

What are the challenges?

Mortgage lenders have recently changed some of their rules, making things more onerous and so there's always something new like that cropping up that you need to be aware of. You've got to be open to continuing to learn in this role to stay up to date.

In what way is your degree relevant?

I have heard the expression 'book smart is not job smart' and that's certainly true, but both my degree and postgraduate qualification with CILEx gave me an excellent grounding. However, I would say that that grounding means nothing if you don't also have the right 'can-do' attitude. All aspects of the law are competitive, and the world does not owe you a living.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

I'm really enjoying my role and as well as keeping up to date with all the training and development opportunities at Enact Conveyancing, I hope I will be able to move on to become a team lawyer, where I will become the technical point of reference for the team.

How do I get into conveyancing?

I highly recommend the route I have taken and for anyone wanting to follow a similar path, I would offer the following three tips:

  • Make sure you get some summer work in a law firm, so you get a better understanding of office culture.
  • Listen to your colleagues, soak up like a sponge all they have to offer. Just because you've done a law degree, doesn't mean you know the law. Practical experience goes a long way.
  • Keep learning- in conveyancing there are a lot of changes, so demonstrate to your firm that you're willing to keep up to date. It shows that you're not just with them as a stopgap.

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