It’s very common to find junior conveyancers who are pigeonholed into handling a high volume of work and unsure about how to progress within their careers. One of the main questions asked is whether there is an option to qualify via a different route to the traditional training contract.
Fortunately, there is the option to become a Licensed Conveyancer by obtaining the CLC qualification. There are a number of benefits to doing so; not only are Licensed Conveyancers considered to be as capable as solicitors in terms of their skillset and the kind of work they deal with, but they also have greater earning potential and are more likely to be considered for managerial roles.
Realm spoke to Katie Mitchell, a Licensed Conveyancer about her experience of qualifying via this route.
Firstly, what is a Licensed Conveyancer and how do you become one?
Licensed Conveyancers are lawyers who study and qualify in Conveyancing and property law specifically, with an option to also study and qualify to practice in probate matters too. You don’t need a law degree to pursue this option although if you have already achieved a law degree it can make the process quicker.
To become a Licensed Conveyancer, you need to complete the Level 4 and Level 6 Diplomas with a Council of Licensed Conveyancers approved provider. You also need to complete 1200 hours of practical experience which would usually come from working within Conveyancing whilst you learn.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a Licensed Conveyancer?
When I left university having completed my law degree I had a keen interest in land law and accepted a position as a clerk in a Cheshire firm within the Investment Property department. My plan initially was to work in the industry for a year or two and then to go back to university part-time to study the LPC. After a year I had decided I wanted to be in Conveyancing and found out that I could qualify as a lawyer specifically in Conveyancing via the CLC Licensed Conveyancer route. The cost of the course at the time was less than half of the cost of the LPC and it fit in much more manageably with working full time and so it felt like a no brainer.
How long did it take you to qualify as a Licensed Conveyancer and how did you find studying whilst working?
It took me around 18 months to qualify and honestly studying whilst working can be a struggle! You really have to learn to manage your time well but that’s a skill you need as a conveyancer anyway so it’s best to develop it as early as possible.
Do you have any tips to share for someone working and studying?
Try not to take on too much in one go. The course providers will let you take one module at a time or a few in one go and depending on the provider and you will have a set time to complete it once you start. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if you are busy at work and have multiple modules on the go too.
Do you think that you would have had the same career opportunities if you didn’t qualify as a Licensed Conveyancer?
Possibly not as I think there are a lot of firms who prefer that Conveyancers have some kind of relevant qualification. I think this helps to keep PI premiums down.
What has been the highlight of your career to date?
Qualifying as a Licensed Conveyancer after 18 months of hard work was definitely a high point!
If you could go back to the start of your conveyancing career, what advice would you give yourself?
I suppose more words of encouragement than advice which would be that there’s a lot to learn but stick with it and it’ll be worth it in the end!