Judges

Saleem Arif

Chairman and co-founder, ReviewSolicitors

Saleem Arif is Chairman and co-founder of ReviewSolicitors, the UK’s largest legal review platform. Last year, over 5 million people visited the site to decide which law firm to use for their legal matter or to confirm they were making the right choice of firm. Over 3000 law firms have chosen ReviewSolicitors as their review collection partner.

Prior to ReviewSolicitors, Saleem was the co-founder of QualitySolicitors.

Along with an Economics degree from Jesus College, Cambridge, he holds an MBA from London Business School. He is Entrepreneur in Residence at London Business School and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Leicester School of Business. He sits on the board of the Small Business Charter which is delivering the Government’s Help To Grow programme.

Karen Babington

Co-Founder, Collaborative Conveyancing

Karen has over 25 years’ experience in the legal, property and mortgage market. She has worked in several senior management positions which include three conveyancing panel management companies. Following the sale of Easier2move in 2010 (which Karen co-founded) to My Home Move (now Simplify), Karen took up the role of Corporate Sales Director.

Until recently, Karen was an owner and Director of Lawyer Checker, a company which provides risk management products to law firms.

Karen also co-founded Solve Legal, now known as Today’s Media, which incorporates three leading legal publications as well as two national legal awards. Today, Karen is a co-founder of Collaborative Conveyancing and holds a number of Non Executive Director roles. 

Fiona Barron

Chief Executive, Land Data

Fiona was appointed Chief Executive at Land Data in July 2021, before this she was Land Data’s Head of Communications with responsibility for internal and external stakeholder engagement.

Fiona has extensive experience in communications, strategy, and business development for complex and changing organisations in information technology, telecoms, and the professional services sector.

She has worked directly on client campaigns through her own PR and marketing agency, as well as at a senior management level for external agencies. Fiona is a Chartered PR practitioner.

David Baskerville MBA

Director and Lead Consultant, Baskerville Drummond Consulting Ltd

David is the founding director of Baskerville Drummond, one of the UK’s leading IT and business consultancies for law firms. Over the past decade, it has established a stand-out reputation for its independence and integrity, with David one of the most trusted and recognisable faces in the industry.

In 2011 David founded Baskerville Drummond to provide strategic advice and hands-on guidance to UK law firms. He has become the ‘go-to’ man for system selection, implementation and optimisation projects, and was an early pioneer of the ‘fractional IT director’ and ‘critical friend’ roles.

David has long specialised in complex IT projects, such as mergers and demergers, and for turning-around failing practice management systems or other challenging technology situations; a growing area in the Cloud era is helping firms address or move away from poorly performing outsourced hosting or support arrangements.

Simon Brown

Founder and Director - The ESTAS Group Ltd

Simon started his career in national newspapers and specialised in creating and managing awards events. In 1999 he founded his own business event agency and in 2004 launched the Estate Agent of the Year Awards which evolved to be known in the industry as The ESTAS (The Oscars of the property industry).

Today ESTAS is the customer review platform of choice for agents, conveyancers and mortgage brokers. The review platform powers the annual ESTAS Customer Service Awards which is the only industry event where agents, conveyancers and mortgage brokers gather under one roof.

Simon is passionate about customer service delivered to clients by all property professionals.

Outside of work Simon makes the most of the Sussex countryside by cycling, playing golf and enjoying the odd glass of local wine!

Mandy Brown

Director, LawSure Insurance Brokers

Mandy is a Director of award winning LawSure, a leading specialist insurance broker for title insurance and which is now part of The Clear Group.

Lawsure works with hundreds of conveyancing practitioners nationwide and has grown dramatically over the past 10 years, providing employment opportunities for many people, which she considers to be one of her greatest achievements.

Before starting LawSure, Mandy worked for many years in the insurance industry for RSA, before becoming a Management Consultant, providing strategic and marketing advice to many leading professional service companies and legal firms for over a decade.

Mandy holds an MBA, a BA in Marketing and speaks four languages. In her spare time she enjoys playing golf and going to the gym.

Sue Carter MBA

Strategic Consultant, Consult Sue Carter Ltd

A leading industry expert, with her independence and experience acknowledged as a valuable attribute to Non-Executive &/or strategic consulting role(s).  After a career of c 40 years in Banking, in 2021 set up her own consulting business Consult Sue Carter Ltd.  She has been an independent Non-Exec Director to Switalskis Solicitors since February 2021 and is involved in the group’s financial management and performance, is a Management Board member, is chair of their Director’s Remuneration Committee and sits on their Director Selection committee.    Has advised law firms since 1993 and in 2011 was appointed to a senior leadership role within Clydesdale Bank PLC as UK Head of Professional Services Sector to lead the Bank’s growth in the sector across the UK.  With a reputation of being a serious thinker about the legal sector and it’s future, Sue advises on topics such as succession planning, mergers acquisitions and disposals, coping strategies,  financial and funding solutions/balance sheet restructuring.  In 2008 achieved an MBA in Legal Practice Management which gives her credibility when speaking to law firms.

She is a lay Member on the Law Society of Scotland (LSS) Council, a position held since 2014. She has served on their Nominations Committee and more recently (May 2022) was appointed as a Board Member of LSS.  She advises a sole practitioner under the scope of succession planning/exit for the owner’s planned retirement.  Other projects include a £7.5M capital raise for a South of England Law Firm and a full re-banking project for a mid-tier London law firm.  She regularly presents at events including Law Society Law Management Section, Simon McCrum’s conferences, Leeds Junior Lawyers Division, ICAEW Regional Solicitor’s Special Interest Group (North West and South of England), and Clydesdale Bank sector events on “benchmarking”  and ‘Journey to Partnership’ – aimed at the trainees/newly qualified audience.  As well as being a judge at the British Conveyancing Awards, she has been a judge for the British Wills & Probate Awards and the Manchester Legal Awards.

Paul Coombes

Director – Legal Marketing Works

Paul Coombes is a legal marketing specialist with over 19 years of experience gained in a number of law firms in the North West.

He has particular expertise in residential property and direct marketing for Solicitors.

He holds a BSc and Post Graduate Diploma in Marketing.  In 2016 he set up Legal Marketing Works Ltd, a niche marketing services provider offering both online and offline support.

Suman Dally

Head of Conveyancing - Shoosmiths

Suman Dally is Head of Conveyancing at Shoosmiths. She joined Shoosmiths in 1999 and has over 25 years’ experience in residential conveyancing.

Her department specialises in dealing with all types of residential conveyancing matters with a strong focus on delivering exceptional customer service to clients and providers alike.

Suman has always been a hands-on operator who has strategically guided the growth of Shoosmiths residential conveyancing department through her connections with leading estate agencies, banking institutions, and developers.

Her focus is always to work with clients, and develop strong working relationships with providers to deliver a seamless client experience.

Sarah Dwight

Owner, Sarah Dwight Solicitors

Sarah Dwight is a solicitor and sole practitioner. She qualified as a solicitor in 1990 and established her own practice, Sarah Dwight Solicitor, in 2000.

She is a member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing and Land Law Committee and chairs the Committee’s Residential Property working group. She led the group in writing the latest edition of the Law Society Conveyancing Protocol and redrafting the various conveyancing forms.

She has spoken at property law conferences, seminars and training events.

She is a member of the Editorial Board for the Conveyancing Handbook.   She writes modules for the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme online training course, is co-author  of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme Toolkit and has written for many publications .

Chris Harris

Co-Founder, Collaborative Conveyancing

Chris is well known across the conveyancing sector for his work at LMS, creating Today’s Conveyancer and Lawyer Checker.   He presently helps advise a number of firms regarding their strategy and is also working on two projects that bring either new technology or information to the conveyancing sector.  Despite all the changes and challenges conveyancers and conveyancing faces Chris is passionate about helping law firms build better businesses.

Rob Hailstone

CEO, Bold Legal Group

Rob Hailstone, an ex-residential property conveyancer with nearly 5 decades of experience, formed the Bold Legal Group (BLG) in 2010.

The BLG now has approximately 700 member firms of all different shapes and sizes throughout England and Wales and is widely respected by all stakeholders including legal regulators, lenders, HMLR and the DLUHC. As well as the weekly information bulletins, having a thriving online Q & A forum, and BLGTraining, BLG members have over the years been given a voice and are kept informed about all relevant conveyancing issues.

Current new projects include Bold Legal Move, a directory of firms who will provide information up front in order to help speed up the time from offer and acceptance to exchange. And National Conveyancing Week, due to be launched in the Spring of 2023.

BLG member firms are among the best informed and best protected firms in England and Wales, with membership respected by lenders, professional indemnity insurance brokers and professional indemnity insurers amongst others.

Maria Harris

Director, Digital Cat Consultancy Ltd

Maria Harris is the Director of Digital Cat Consultancy Ltd and Non-Exec Director at United Trust Bank.

Through her consultancy, Maria provides digital and fintech expertise to the mortgage industry. Previously the Director of Lending at Atom bank where she designed, built and launched the first fully digital mortgage in the UK.

With over 25 years’ experience in management, Maria has held roles across a number of sectors including travel, utilities and more recently in financial services where she was awarded the inaugural Women in Finance Award for services to banking by HM Treasury.

She is a vocal advocate for equality, diversity, and the role of technology in improving financial wellbeing and the customer experience.

Recently appointed chair of the Home Buying & Selling Technology Group, she is working across government and industry to revolutionise the homebuying process and also acts as a board advisor to Coadjute, Plotify and Coreco.

Sally Holdway

Director, Teal Legal

Sally is an innovation strategist, and co founder of the Home Owner’s Passport at Teal Legal.

Her background is as a conveyancing solicitor.  She started her career working for High Street law firms, but also has experience working on the boards and management teams of some of the largest legal services firms in the UK.

She regularly contributes to working groups and initiatives looking to embrace technology to improve the consumer experience of moving house.

She is also an author for the Law Society on technology and transformative change.

Alex Holt

Director of Business Development, The Cashroom

Alex’s background is in the legal profession and is a qualified solicitor, having been a litigation Partner at Hill Dickinson.

He then founded and ran an executive search business, before joining a global outsourcing company to head up their strategic move into the legal sector.

Alex joined the Cashroom in 2014 to lead the company’s Business Development.

Sarah Keegan

Co-Founder, The CS Partnership

Sarah qualified as a Solicitor in 1996 and has over 20 years’ experience as a property lawyer.  She ran one of the biggest residential property departments in the country and co-founded The CS Partnership in 2012 with the mission to help law firms modernise and change the way that they deliver their services.

The CS Partnership helps firms increase their profits by ensuring they have the correct software and products for their practice and are using their technology to the best of its ability.  They process map bespoke workflow and also write the required changes that their clients need across various software solutions. In addition, they help the legal teams adapt and adopt to the changes that they are introducing – which is the key differentiator in 2023 as the regulations and reporting requirements tighten.

Dealing with risk and compliance is an area that Sarah focuses on in her consultancies with law firms,  in particular, finding ways to ensure her client firms are compliant and safe on every transaction. She also focuses on helping firms prepare for their CQS inspections.

Jane King

Mortgage/Equity Release Adviser - Ash-Ridge

Jane started her career in financial services in 1997 in administration and passed her Financial Planning exams in 2005. 

Having held a part time job as an Estate Agent she quickly realised that property was an area that she wanted to be in and so took the decision to become a mortgage adviser, qualifying in 2007. 

She then passed the Equity Release and Home Reversion Scheme exams shortly afterwards and one was one of the first candidates to pass the Advanced Mortgage Advice exam. 

Jane has always worked in the independent sector covering all types of mortgage lending but with a particular interest in affordable homes schemes finding it very satisfying to help first time buyers and those on lower incomes who thought that they would never have a home of their own,  onto the Housing ladder. 

She is also in demand as a commentator on National Radio and TV and has also written for various newspapers.

Dan Montagnani

CEO, Groundsure

Dan has been in the environmental risk arena for 25 years. In his early career, he focused on advisory work with particular emphasis on financial and investment clients.

Dan joined Groundsure in 2005 and now leads the business, focused on optimising the delivery of environmental and climate analytics and data intelligence solutions into the UK property market.

Dan is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Trustee of the South Downs National Park.

Natalie Moore

Founder and Director, Aconveyancing

A fully qualified lawyer and Conveyancer, Natalie founded Aconveyancing in 2017 after working in the industry for nearly 20 years.

Her mission is to provide a supportive workplace to staff whilst delivering the highest level of service to clients at one of life’s most challenging times – buying and selling property.

Natalie is an advocate for mental health and supporting the next generation of conveyancers and Aconveyancing is accredited with both the Investors in People and Great Place to Work standards.

She is passionate about building a business that sets a higher standard across the industry and in 2022, she was named Managing Partner of the Year at the LEAP Modern Law Conveyancing Awards.

Lucy Morrison

Director, Hedges Law

Lucy is currently managing director of Hedges Law, a high-net-worth private client firm in Oxford that was the fifth firm to become employee-owned.

She was previously managing director of CLT, one of the UK’s leading providers of training and accreditations to lawyers.

Ian Quayle

Chief Executive, IQ Legal Training

Ian qualified as a solicitor and worked in private practice for 13 years specialising in property law matters including residential development work, commercial acquisitions and disposals.

Ian has delivered over 1500 property related training courses for city and regional firms, local law societies and local authorities. His training style and delivery is relaxed, but he is able to explain the law and practical issues relating to the training topic in a way that ensures delegates learn, or reinforce learning, and derive meaningful benefit from the training provided.

Ian has provided training to businesses in-house, public courses, and spoken at conferences. He is prolific in his delivery of webinars on conveyancing related issues, and he has delivered live and pre-recorded webinars nationally and internationally for both of the leading legal training providers and continues to do so.

Unusually, Ian is able to deliver training in both commercial and residential property fields generating courses on a myriad of topics some of which are of general application and others more specialist and focused. Bespoke training courses are available depending on individual business requirements. In addition to training qualified legal staff, Ian has taught a number of training courses aimed at support staff.

Rakeebah Rahim

Partner, Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Rakeebah qualified in 1993 having trained with Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP. She specialised in crime and fraud, building up the practice from scratch to become one of the largest teams in London.

In the process she became recognised as a Legal 500 recommended lawyer and worked on the most serious of cases. From 2013 she changed into the management and development of the firm as its Managing Partner.

Since then she has overseen the expansion of the firm from 30 to over 100 people, including opening regional offices in Manchester and Exeter. Much of the growth of the firm has been in property law and in the domestic conveyancing market. Rakeebah has taken the lead in recruitment and development of our partners,  team leaders and staff as well as developing key client relationships.

Rakeebah has a keen interest in finding business opportunities and individual talent for the firm and my focus is on driving the growth of the firm and providing career progression for our outstanding team of lawyers and staff.

Lorraine Richardson

Conveyancing Expert | Property Solicitor and Legal Trainer, Adapt Law

Lorraine is an experienced property solicitor and trainer who is a popular conference and CPD speaker.  Lorraine is now freelance but when in practice she ran a branch office and was a partner and the COLP for her firm.

She also designs and delivers property and legal skills related courses and on-line materials including Conveyancing Quality Scheme training for the Law Society.

Lorraine has developed a skill for writing and delivering webinars and aims to produce work that is both interesting and accessible for the viewer.  Lorraine is the major writer for the monthly update journal for practitioners, the ‘Practical Lawyer.’

Lorraine is delighted that Law Brief Publishing have published the second edition of her book:  ‘A Practical Guide to Document Signing and Electronic Signatures for Conveyancers’. 

They have also published ‘A Practical Guide to Residential Freehold Conveyancing’ by Lorraine which got a great review in the Law Society Gazette: ‘I like that it tells you what needs to be asked and why it needs to be asked. The quality of the information is exceedingly good. The section explaining how to read registers of title is a great table … this portion of the book alone might be worth the ticket price’.

Lorraine has set up her own company and offers property related courses and webinars and a membership scheme for firms to access her webinars and personalised conveyancing training at a discount –  www.adaptlaw.co.uk

Priscilla Sinder

Managing Director, Property Conveyancing Consultancy

Priscilla Sinder is the managing director of Property Conveyancing Consultancy Ltd (“PCC”); a UK based outsourced company that offers a post-completion service to the conveyancing industry.

She has been invited to sit as a panel member expert to speak about post-completion formalities and how PCC can help law firms create the desired client care service.

PCC also offers business efficiency advice within conveyancing to enhance the client care experience, and with her passion to create a perfect client care service, Priscilla is the author of ‘Client Care in Conveyancing’, which was published by the Law Society in April 2022.

Prior to establishing her business, she practiced for 10 years as a property solicitor, in-house and in private practice.

Stephen Ward

Director of Strategy and External Relations, The Council for Licensed Conveyancers

Stephen leads on the CLC’s strategy development and delivery.

Stephen has a background in the Law Society, the UK and EU civil service, political campaigning, and business strategy in the private sector.

Julie Williams

Co-Founder and Director, Convey Assist

Julie has over 3 decades of experience with the property legal sector and held several senior management positions which include Conveyancing Panel Manager and Operations Director.

During 2020 Julie became co-founder and director of ConveyAssist Ltd who sought to provide outsourced support services to conveyancing practices at a time when, across the sector, law firms were struggling to balance the volume of work and client demands with resource and capacity, and individual lawyers were struggling to deal with their workloads.

Now in its third year ConveyAssist continue to provide services that include title checking and reporting and post completion work. All of which are delivered by a team of highly skilled, experienced and qualified solicitors ensuring the business continues to provide valued and trusted support for its clients.