Case for Low Fees; MARJORIE CALDER Reports on a Lawyer Who Aims to Cut Costs for His Clients

Article excerpt

GRAEME McCormick is a solicitor but he's also a pragmatist who doesn't believe in paying undue deference to professions such as his own.

Luckily, he doesn't believe that the rest of us should pay for it either and, so, three years ago he set up Conveyancing Direct as a way of offering low cost legal services to those involved in buying or selling a home.

Graeme says he spotted the writing on the wall some time ago that the cartel enjoyed by lawyers arranging house purchases and sales was bound to break down.

As estate agents and remortgaging companies became ever-more involved in arranging the whole deal for buyers, costs have been cut and the market has become more competitive.

Graeme decided that low-cost, high volume business was the way ahead and branched out on his own and his firm aims to take the pomp out of what he describes as a usually quite straightforward transaction.

Standard deals for buying, selling or remortgaging can be done from pounds 150 plus VAT, as against traditional fees of perhaps pounds 450.

But Graeme insists: "We are still providing a full, traditional conveyancing service, but by concentrating on just one thing and going for volume business we can offer a very competitive fee structure."

One of the first things debunked by Conveyancing Direct was the traditional sliding scale of fees dependent on the value of the property.

Graeme says: "Often it is less work selling a substantial, expensive home than a small flat, possibly with building alterations and shared property. …