Shoosmiths joins mortgage giant

Shoosmiths & Harrison has broken new legal ground by joining with Barclays Mortgages to pilot a new conveyancing service for home buyers.

For months, title insurers and solicitors' organisations such as Solicitors Property Centres have been trying to get lending institutions to enter joint ventures.

But Shoosmiths appears to have beaten them by being the first to publicly entice a major market lender to join them.

Under a pilot project being tested in the East Midlands, home buyers going to Barclays Mortgages, will get the option of using Shoosmiths' in-house conveyancing department known as Property Direct.

Buyers will be able to carry all conveyancing business out in a seven day service with fixed fee charges starting at £295.

Shoosmiths' move follows its setting up of a similar conveyancing deal with Hambro Countrywide Estate Agents a year ago.

Property Direct, which also acts for local estate agents, now has 77 fee earners including 11 solicitors carrying out 500 transactions a month.

Partner Andrew Tubbs, who heads the department, said that many Barclays' buyers would forgo their high street solicitor in favour of what he described as a more convenient system.