Eversheds beats rivals to win Hambros conveyancing deal

Eversheds fought off the efforts of more than 40 other firms to secure a joint seven-day-a-week conveyancing deal with estate agents Hambro Countrywide.

Under the deal struck with Hambros, Eversheds will handle conveyancing referrals from two Hambros' conveyancing centres proposed for Manchester and Bristol.

The firm follows Shoosmiths & Harrison and Middlesex firm EDC Lord in signing up conveyancing agreements with the estate agents.

Hambros director of new projects Richard Sawtell said 40 firms had approached him personally seeking an association after the deals with Shoosmiths and EDC Lord were announced last month, with many more practices approaching other senior staff.

Sawtell said Hambros would need to bring no further law firms on board, although it may increase its network of centres.

However, The Lawyer understands other estate agents are considering following the Hambros lead.

Eversheds will be looking to work with large lenders and other organisations that can provide high transaction volumes. It is believed the Hambros deal does not prevent the firm from working with other estate agency chains.

The agreement marks the firm's first venture into domestic conveyancing, although its existing department of 40 conveyancing staff handles 1,000 transactions each month for banking and building society clients.

Eversheds partner Kevin Doolan revealed that the firm would set up a separate domestic conveyancing division and would employ a further 100 conveyancing solicitors in the “first wave” of its scheme.

He added that he had “acres of sympathy” for the plight of high street-solicitors, saying they were some of the most overworked and undervalued members of the profession.