Solicitor tries to put brake on property-selling bandwagon

A LEADING conveyancing lawyer and former high-ranking Law Society council member has attacked the societys policy of encouraging solicitors to sell property.

Paul Marsh, who chaired the societys property and commercial services committee for three years, says solicitors are wrongly being sold the message that property selling will be their financial saviour.

The Law Society, in my view, is clouding the issues, said Marsh.

Officially the society has distanced itself from a campaign to establish a network of property centres in England and Wales but it is in the process of deregulating property-selling rules and is spending u80,000 on research.

In the first significant attack from within the profession on the property-selling initiative, Marsh urged delegates at the recent Solicitors Annual Conference to make up your own mind and not be swayed by slick sales talk.

He told The Lawyer that many solicitors were reluctant to join the property-selling bandwagon: People are very anxious about breaking long-term relationships with estate agents and the amount of capital required to get involved.

Marsh, a partner at Surrey firm Bells, was a Law Society council member for eight years before losing his seat in 1995 to Anthony Bogan, now a director of the Solicitors Property Centres.

Bogan said Law Society research had shown 70 per cent of solicitors were in favour of property selling. He added he was pleased see the Law Society for once supporting initiatives by solicitors rather than taking a neutral stance.

Meanwhile the Edinburgh Solicitors Property Centre has confirmed plans, first revealed in The Lawyer last month, to open a branch in London.