Solicitors Tricks To Increase Fees and Income

Solicitors Tricks To Increase Fees and Income

9:55 AM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago 10

Text Size

I think most people are aware of the games Solicitors play to increase income; the most popular one being you send me a letter and I will reply to it, then you reply to my reply keeping the fees rolling upwards, better still if our clients are on Legal Aid no one squeals on us afterwards or complains. Are we robbing the public,? You Bet we are. Solicitors Tricks To Increase Fees and Income

I am currently trying to convey two sold small parcels of adjoining land, the fact that it’s got planning permission for housing and a hefty price tag should be immaterial, but immaterial or not its difficult to find a Solicitor who shares my view, one quoted us £1,000 + VAT for the conveyance but when he learnt the sales price he upped this to £7,500, and we said goodbye to him. But here’s the rub: we located another Solicitor, we let the buyers Solicitor know his contact details, then the buyers Solicitor sent him 20 pages of due diligence notes for completion, along with a so called Draft Contract some 28 pages long downloaded from a Solicitors www-Forms and Precedents Handbook.

Our difficulty is: if we reply to these questionnaires we are unwillingly entering into a battle of forms, letters, bogus enquires, and mock questions all dressed up to increase the buyers solicitors fees and indirectly our fees also. My own Solicitors knows what he’s up to, and asked me what did we want to do about it. Our first thoughts were to drop the deal – we are not that bothered about selling the land, but are going with our second choice: for us to request a simple and straightforward “John Doe agrees to sells, and James Brown agrees to buy Agreement to be sent”.

The point being: if we did not know about the intended ‘CON’ being prepared for the buyer and seller – we would be joining the million or so Brits being fleeced each year by greedy money-grubbing Solicitors. The words Due Diligence do look good, but they look even better on a lawyers bank account!

Have you been conned like this, and what are your views on Solicitors phony-baloney letter passing ping-pong game?


Bob Sherwood

Share This Article


Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

10:01 AM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

Justification from solicitors is that higher value transactions have a greater impact on Professional Indemnity insurance costs.

I agree with what you say though, the correspondence is used to rack up fees, not just in conveyancing but all legal transaction I can think of.

I think the open cheque book approach, where lawyers charge by the hour and for each piece of correspondence is dated and will phase out significantly over the next generation.

That's why fixed fee law is becoming so popular, especially with Direct Access Barristers.

See >>>


11:40 AM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

We have been stung like this. My partner had a dispute with her ex- over selling their joint property. She wanted to expedite, while he wanted to delay to get the price down and destroy her financially. He had cash, while hers was tied up in the property. He paid a compliant and complicit solicitor to send letter after letter to her solicitor, who said he was was duty bound to reply. She went to court but represented herself ...and lost against his barrister. 3 years and £53,000 in legal fees later, both properties were sold! The issue is, if the client loses, and is financially and emotionally destroyed, the solicitor always wins!

We are now working with Mark Smith at Cotswold Barristers. A refreshing change, and will hopefully rebuild our confidence in the legal profession.

patrick maher

12:07 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

The answer is to ask for a fixed fee estimate and establish exactly what is included in the estimate i.e. answering ALL enquiries etc etc. It is easy to do this in residential conveyancing and to a large extent in commercial.

Steve Masters

12:55 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "patrick maher" at "13/07/2015 - 12:07":

One can arrange a fixed fee estimate on your own solicitors but that does not prevent the other parties solicitors using "fee building" practices that your solicitor gets dragged into. One way might be to negotiate a deal where the other party is insentivized to getting a fixed fee estimate on his side too.

Anyone got any ideas on how that night work?

Maria M.

13:56 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

I do agree the solicitors can be greedy. I have a flat with 56 years lease left. I am trying to extend the lease. One solicitor quoted me £750+vat, then said if he had to negotiate with my Freeholders, he will then charge me £240+vat per hour and it will be minimum 4-5 hours extra work if he had to negotiate with my freeholder! Although Lease Advisory service has told me that it is my Surveyor who will negotiate my lease extension with my Freeholder.
Another solicitor has quoted me £1950 +vat and he tells me that I do not need a surveyor, as he will negotiate with my Freeholders and negotiation costs are £350.00per hour + vat in addition to his £1950 costs.

Does anybody will have an idea of what solicitors charges should to extend a 56 years lease to an 99 years ( via statutory route)?

Can a solicitor negotiate directly with my Freeholders without a surveyor being involved?

Any help would be much appreciated.

15:19 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "patrick maher" at "13/07/2015 - 12:07":

Initially, we sought and and obtained a fixed fee estimates, the price was a £1000. This Solicitor then spoke to the other side Solicitor, who told our Solicitor he was going use the due diligence enquiries route. Our £1000.00 fixed fee Solicitor tipped us off what was afoot (he appeared to support the other Solicitors effort to milk the job dry) he said because of the buyers Solicitor paper trail tactics he regretted he now had to bump his fee up from £1000 to £7500.00 + vat!

I got out of using him by telling him "that I had to obtain another persons consent to the increased fee". Shortly afterwards we sent him a "Goodbye Email". He was gambling that because we had such a large sales price to come it would not bother us that much paying him his increased fee, which totalled circa £11 0000 including vat. The buyers Solicitor is now playing long line fishing with out second solicitor.

16:09 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

I extended a lease on a property I owned in South London. The freeholders are a very big concern and was initially told it would cost £5000 plus their solicitors costs of £250. When the renewed lease was sent to my own solicitor he noticed they had changed the ground rent costs to double every 25 years which meant it would run into thousands a few years down the line and affect the value. When the solicitors bill for the freeholder came they also upped it to £450. Very lucky my own solicitor, based in the north west was on the ball and got the lease changed to much decreased ground rent and solicitor fees as had been initially quoted. The problems with my particular block of flats with £6000 a year service charge when I left and no end of problems are another story. Just appears to be a money making scheme for some solicitors and the leasehold properties and they are always the winners

patrick maher

16:13 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Bob Sherwood" at "13/07/2015 - 15:19":

Is your current solicitor saying that he cannot give you a fixed quote and that the amount of his fee will be on a time basis i.e. the longer the contract and the enquiries raised the bigger his fee will be? If it will not affect his fee I do not see what the problem is but if it will affect his fee why not get another solicitor who will charge a fixed amount? In any event it sounds like these documents may be standard commercial property documents and should not need much if any additional time spent on top of what should have been originally envisaged.
The buyers solicitor will justify them as being necessary to give his client a proper service and I expect the only way he will drop them is for the buyer to sign a disclaimer.

16:33 PM, 13th July 2015, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "patrick maher" at "13/07/2015 - 16:13":

We are currently working with our 2nd SolicItor, we dropped the first, the 2nd one does not give us any confidence at all. Give him a chance and we expect that he will soon be claiming that " Due to circumstance completely beyond his control he UNWITTINGLY got involved with the notorious letter exchanging con-game, and was helpless to prevent it escalating into a gold mine. This racket has gone on for years and every Solicitor plays it. The key to its worldwide success is the purchase funds get given to him on final completion and he's allowed to deducts his fees from them. Conveyances and Wills, are the Mother Lode of the legal trade.

Si G

15:15 PM, 14th July 2015, About 8 years ago

Hello Bob, unfortunately solicitors or conveyancers (cheaper) are needed to buy and sell land and property in the UK; this is what gives confidence to the market so it is unlikely that a transaction will go wrong due to the due diligence done.
Simple steps are to do as much as you can yourself beforehand such as preparing a deed plan, title deeds and form filling, then obtain three quotes as with any contractual engagement and lastly consider a licensed conveyancer rather than a solicitor.
When my wife sold her London flat the northern based licensed conveyancer was much cheaper than the local high street London solicitor, the only caveat id say is if the transaction is worth say half a mill who would you trust the money with ?
As for going to court id consider self representation unless legal aid is available but i can imagine that people in regular nine to five jobs wont have the time or confidence to do this.

Leave Comments

In order to post comments you will need to Sign In or Sign Up for a FREE Membership


Don't have an account? Sign Up

Landlord Tax Planning Book Now