April 28, 2007
Damn, I’ve been trying to remember the lyrics of an Ian Dury song. While I try to recall them, I thought I’d review some recent legal developments:
– The implementation of HIPs draws ever closer and will, we are assured, solve all the problems of the conveyancing process. Bollocks.
– The CLS has forced through the new legal aid contract, which in turn will force more firms out of business.
– This week the profession received more good publicity when an MP complained on the BBC about greedy lawyers, referring to the miners compensation claims.
– The third money laundering directive is on it’s way, and will mean that solicitors will basically be liable for any criminal activity committed by their clients.
Oh yes, I’ve remembered those lyrics: “arseholes, bastards, fucking cunts and pricks…”
April 3, 2007
Just received a completion statement in the post today. Sale price £240,000. Estate agents fees £3,600 plus VAT. Solicitors fees (not my firm) £500 plus VAT. Nothing unusual about that you might say, and you’d be right. Hold on a minute… the estate agents, who cursorily inspected the property, wrote up some particulars and advertised it charged THREE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED POUNDS more than the solicitors, who did all the conveyancing work. Why the fuck do most sellers accept this? Christ, if the solicitors tried to charge that much they’d be complaining from the tree tops. And don’t give me any of that crap about advertising fees and the two things not being comparable – when I started out in this profession some twenty seven years ago solicitors and estate agents charged about the same. Since then, whilst we’ve capitulated to pressures to keep our fees down (with the result that we’re barely making any profit on the work), estate agents have been allowed to quietly increase their fees so that the type of figures mentioned above have become acceptable.
As there is little prospect of property sellers waking up to the fact that they’re being screwed, my advice to any aspiring ‘fat cat’ is to forget about becoming a lawyer with all that training and outside interference by regulators, and become an estate agent instead.