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Should I use a Lawyer or Conveyancer?

Conveyancers and Lawyers are doing the same job – are they the same? No. Quality of service is what separates them.

Monkey is a Law Firm that specialises in conveyancing. With us, you are getting a Law Firm at Conveyancer’s rates.

  Conveyancer Lawyer
Cost Conveyancers often charge less than Lawyers because they are offering a lower standard of service, e.g. they aren’t qualified to give advice other than conveyancing. Conveyancers who have just established their business may also offer lower prices to draw new clients in. Low fees may indicate low experience. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Lawyers provide full legal services at a comparable cost with Conveyancers – therefore it is providing: BETTER VALUE FOR MONEY.
A Bigger Business Isn’t Necessarily A Better One Low cost Conveyancers will likely have substantially more files and clients than the more expensive ones. And they will need more clients turning over to keep the business open. As a result, the attention to detail is reduced as will be the time that they can devote to your case. You may find that they are unable to meet with you when you need to; or they will fail to return your phone calls. This often creates problems, particularly if you need to contact them urgently. A more expensive Lawyer relies on his reputation which is based on his experience. They will have fewer clients and can give a more personalised service.
Qualifications A Conveyancer will have completed a conveyancing course and can do conveyancing work only. In Victoria, conveyancing work covers the time between the Contract for the sale of the land being signed and when the land is paid for (the payment is called “Settlement”). Lawyers have University law degrees and are trained in conveyancing, property law, contract law, tax law, equity law, trade practices law, consumer law, local government law, family law (including de facto relationships), company law, the law of who gets your land after you die and other areas of law. These areas may be relevant to your conveyance, e.g. if the house you’re selling is part of a deceased Estate, the lawyer can advise on the Will and tax implications.
Access to Greater Advice Conveyancers aren’t property law experts. They can’t give you legal advice on consumer law protection, tax advice, and family law implications on how to buy the land so that you and your family are most protected or to have the best advantage. A Lawyer will give you advice on the Contract before you sign it and on what to do after Settlement. You want to know what you should be doing before you sell or buy. A Lawyer can give you more comprehensive advice.
Duty to Refer Conveyancer should refer you to a lawyer where legal advice is required e.g. the legal issues are too complex for a Conveyancer. Lawyers have access to their Law Society for advice or Barristers or fellow Lawyers in their own business or the profession generally. Usually, Lawyers already have the information because of their better qualifications.
Degree of Service If you’re paying a low fee, don’t expect personalised service. Often you get the bare necessities. More often than not a Converyancer will not offer any explanations or advice and will most likely not want to meet with you as this will take up more time. Essentially, they will try to spend the least amount of time on your conveyancing transaction as possible. You pay for experience and can expect:

  • One-on-one attention.
  • Better attention to detail.
  • Anticipation of problems and finding ways to avoid those problems.
  • Any problems which may crop up, dealt with in a more effective and efficient manner.
Level of Service Conveyancers cannot offer the same level of service as Lawyers because they are:

  • Less qualified.
  • Cannot offer complimentary property advice services because of these qualifications.
  • Lawyers are skilled in doing legal research.
  • They are kept up to date with changes to the law by their Law Society.
  • Have access to legal advice from within their industry.
Professional Indemnity Insurance (this pays the legal costs and damages of a business/person where they have been negligent or not done something they should have in carrying out their business). They must have this insurance in place to become registered but you should always ask if their insurance is current. A Conveyancer carries insurance for doing “conveyancing work”, not anything else they do. Do you know where conveyancing work starts and finishes and if the Conveyancer is giving you legal advice they aren’t allowed to? This means that you may have no claim where something goes wrong and you won’t know that until after your claim has been declined, or you’ve paid a Lawyer to investigate what went wrong. It is compulsory for a Lawyer to have this insurance. It covers everything they do. Lawyers cannot be issued their annual practicing certificates unless they have this insurance.
Professional Standards Conveyancers are only required to work within the law. There is no requirement to work to any standard – legal or management wise. All Lawyers must work within the law. They must also work to the compulsory levels dictated by the Legal Profession Act and the Regulations of the Law Society, so their standard of work and accountability is higher. Failing to work to the standard can lead to being disqualified. Law9000 is a certification based on international quality standards designed to reduce professional risk and increase client satisfaction. It is based on the business having systems and checks and balances independent audits before certification is given. It is a safe guard for the client – the customer – YOU. “LAW 9000 is the management system benchmark for legal practices, developed by QL Inc. and SAI Global in conjunction with the Law Society of New South Wales and The College of Law”
Conveyancer vs. Lawyer – Which one should you use? Use a Conveyancer if:

  • You are a first home buyer with limited funds and the transaction is low risk.
  • If a house sale looks to be a relatively simple, Conveyancers may be cheaper, and service should be the main consideration over expertise in the legal field. The question is how do you know if the selling your property will be simple?
  • If you are on a tight budget and don’t expect personalised service.
Use a Lawyer when:

  • The property is of ‘high value’ as there is more risk.
  • In very large real estate deals, or in complicated sales, it could be safer to go with a Lawyer as their legal experience, depth and breadth of knowledge delves into other applicable legal realms you may find yourself in need of help with.
  • If you want more one-on-one attention and the transaction is expected to be a difficult one.