Legal Secretaries play a vital role in the conveyancing process as they carry out a variety of different tasks which contribute towards the smooth running and ultimate success of the project.
The most important aspect of the Legal Secretary’s role is to provide the Conveyancers (or Property Solicitors/ Fee Earners) with support in the legal aspects of a property purchase.
The responsibilities of a Legal Secretary depend on the following:
- the level of complexity involved in the purchase,
- the structure of the practice,
- the searches or checks that are required
- the skills and/or experience of the Legal Secretary
Their responsibilities can cover anything from providing basic office or administrative support, to taking on a more in-depth co-ordination role where they are the right-hand man to the Conveyancer, even becoming the first point of contact for the clients they are working for.
The full Conveyancing process is explained in The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs’ Legal Secretaries Diploma and provides a solid foundation on which to begin, or advance a career as a Conveyancing Legal Secretary in a law firm.
Here’s an idea of some of the tasks a Conveyancing Legal Secretary is likely to undertake:
Fulfilling administrative tasks
The Conveyancing procedure in the UK comes complete with a vast array of paperwork, documentation and administration. This is compulsory and must legally be carried out to ensure the viability of the purchase process. The role of a Conveyancer is to draw up and check contracts, mortgage offers, settlement statements and other legal documents. They will then analyse and verify the checks that must take place on a property prior to a transfer of ownership.
A Legal Secretary will assist the Conveyancer by compiling, checking and summarising the information gathered, and reporting back to the client before final confirmation of the purchase. There is usually a lot of exchanges of e-mails, faxes and telephone calls, as well as photocopying and scanning to be done collecting the required information the Conveyancer needs.
Liaising with clients
There are multiple stakeholders involved when purchasing a property, including (but not limited to); the buyer, the seller, both parties’ solicitors and estate agents and local government bodies. A good Legal Secretary communicates with everyone and manages their expectations in relation to timescales, progress and outcomes. They often spend a good proportion of their time taking phone calls, answering queries and requesting and receiving information from these parties.
This aspect of a Legal Secretary’s role is crucial as it frees up the Conveyancer to focus on the job in hand. By keeping everybody up to date with the progress of the purchase process the Conveyancer can identify potential obstacles and resolve issues early on.
Supporting with carrying out conveyancing searches
Carrying out the mandatory searches on properties is a time-consuming yet essential part of a property purchase. Legal Secretaries are often the people tasked with gathering this information and chasing the relevant parties where required. These searches can involve aspects such as; access rights to the property, the type and quality of land that the property is built on and any planning permission required. The results of these searches can have a big impact on whether the buyer chooses to go ahead with the purchase or not.
If you’re interested in studying conveyancing law or finding out more about the process, check out the courses on offer through The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs.
The Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs (ILSPA) is a professional body who are dedicated to your career every step of the way. Whether you would like to become a Legal Secretary or you would like to advance your Legal Secretary career, they are there to support you through your journey. For more information visit www.institutelegalsecretaries.com.