Licensed Conveyancer

The Job and What's Involved

Conveyancing is the legal process involved in transferring a house, flat or piece of land from one person to another. Licensed conveyancers (England and Wales) are specialist property lawyers trained and qualified in all aspects of the law relating to property. In Scotland, this work is carried out by solicitors. Licensed conveyancers deal with all the paperwork involved in transferring ownership.

Their main duties include:

  • Communicating with clients in person, on the phone, by letter or by email.
  • Drafting contracts giving details of all aspects of the sale.
  • Filling in forms, writing letters and emails.
  • Liaising with other professionals, such as mortgage lenders (banks and building societies), estate agents and other lawyers.
  • Conducting 'searches' which involves asking local authorities for details of any plans which might affect the property in the future - for example, if a new road is being built beside the house in question.
  • Paying taxes such as stamp duty.
  • Advising clients of any costs they will face, such as stamp duty and legal fees.
  • Checking that contracts are signed and exchanged.

Licensed conveyancers usually work 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Some jobs involve evening and weekend work. Part-time work and job sharing are often available.

Licensed conveyancers are mainly office based, with occasional visits to clients.

Smart dress is generally required.

The starting salary for a trainee licensed conveyancer may be between £11,500 and £14,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are about 950 qualified licensed conveyancers in England and Wales. There are around 3,000 people in total in the industry, but many are in training and not yet qualified. There are currently more vacancies than applicants, with an increasing number of opportunities becoming available.

Opportunities exist throughout the country. Most licensed conveyancers work in private practice or for a firm of licensed conveyancers, but they can also work for firms of solicitors, local authorities, property developers or lenders (banks and building societies).

In Scotland, conveyancing is carried out by solicitors. For more general information about becoming a solicitor, see the article Solicitor.

Education and Training

The minimum entry requirements are four GCSE's/S grades (A-C/1-3), or the equivalent, including English. However, many entrants have more than the minimum qualifications - for example a law degree, Legal Practice Course or Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX) qualifications.

Previous relevant experience is helpful, for instance, as a legal secretary or legal executive.

Licensed conveyancers need a licence to practise. To obtain this they need to:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Have spent at least two years in full-time practical training working under the supervision of a qualified employer (at the same time normally working towards the examinations of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC)).
  • Have passed the CLC examinations.

The CLC examinations can be studied at further education colleges throughout the country. The CLC also offers the course by correspondence, with around 64 per cent of students studying by this method. Many of the larger legal practices offer the course in house.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

The CLC examinations are in two parts:

The foundation consists of two assignment-based subjects (introduction to law and introduction to conveyancing) and two examination subjects (land law and the law of contract).

The final examinations consist of three subjects (conveyancing law and practice, landlord and tenant, and accounts).

After completing all the examinations and practical training, licensed conveyancers become holders of the 'Employed Licence'. To be eligible to apply for a 'full licence' they have to remain in employment for a further three years.

Licensed conveyancers have to do Continuing Professional Development (CPD) which involves attending courses and seminars.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A licensed conveyancer should:

  • Be able to explain complicated legal matters clearly to a wide range of clients.
  • Be a good communicator in speech and writing.
  • Have problem-solving skills and the ability to pay attention to detail.
  • Be comfortable working with many different types of people.
  • Be able to give clients impartial advice on buying property.
  • Be tactful and diplomatic.
  • Be numerate.
  • Be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Be well organised.

Your Long Term Prospects

A licensed conveyancer with a 'full licence' is able to set up in private practice and become self-employed.

It is also possible to progress to more senior positions within a company.

Get Further Information

Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC),
16 Glebe Road, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 1QG
Tel: 01245 349599

The Institute of Legal Executives (ILEX),
Kempston Manor, Kempston,
Bedfordshire MK42 7AB
Tel: 01234 841000

The Law Careers Advice Network

The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane,
London WC2A 1PL
Tel: 020 7831 0344

The Law Society of Northern Ireland,
Law Society House, 98 Victoria Street,
Belfast BT1 3JZ
Tel: 028 90 231614

The Law Society of Scotland,
26 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7YR
Tel: 0131 226 7411

Skills for Justice, 9-11 Riverside Court,
Don Road, Sheffield S9 2TJ
Tel: 0114 261 1499

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