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 co-founded several companies including Easier2move (sold to Simplify in 2010), Lawyer Checker and Today’s Media, previously known as Solve Legal.

Today, Karen is a co-founder and owner of Collaborative Conveyancing, a legal tech company focussed on solving the long standing conveyancing enquiries problem.

David Baskerville MBA

Director and Lead Consultant, Baskerville Drummond Consulting Ltd

David started his career as a developer and then technical consultant at Logical Networks before joining Thompsons Solicitors where he was the Software Applications manager. David then moved on to Tollers Solicitors to become the Head of IT and then Director of Operations and IT.

In 2011 David left Tollers to form Baskerville Drummond and has specialised assisting Law Firms with IT strategy and projects.

David has particular expertise and experience in defining and delivering large-scale, multidisciplinary business focused solutions and has delivered several PMS/CMS projects for large law firms.

David also works with several Law Firms providing interim or Virtual IT Director services.

During his time as a consultant David has gained a specialism for Merger/Demerger projects having undertaken several Merger & Demerger engagements including the restructuring of IT following Mergers/Demergers and development of the resulting firms client’s IT Strategy.

David is MBA qualified and is a member of the British Computer Society (BCS) with Chartered IT Professional status.

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 nearly two decades.

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

Simon Brown

Founder and Director - The ESTAS Group Ltd

Simon started his career in national newspapers, specialising in creating and managing awards events. In 2003 he launched The Estate Agent of the Year Awards which quickly gained the nick name ‘The ESTAS’ (The Oscars of the property industry). The ESTAS established themselves as the most important and valuable awards for agents as winners were decided purely on service ratings from customers.  Recently The ESTAS Group has accelerated its development into a customer review and insight solution for conveyancers, agents, mortgage brokers and suppliers. The ESTAS Awards celebrated their 20th anniversary in October 2023 when over 1,000 of the UK’s top property professionals gathered at London’s prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel. With the arrival of other key directors Simon’s role in the business has changed to concentrate on PR and marketing and provide support and advice to all areas of the company.

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 20 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 - Swiitch (the conveyancing arm of Shoosmiths LLP)

She joined Shoosmiths in 1999 and has almost 30 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 the 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.

Lindsey Frith

Partner & Head of Conveyancing, Ramsdens Solicitors LLP

Lindsey has worked in the conveyancing industry for almost 20 years, having specialised in Residential Development and Corporate Purchaser Buy to Let work during her fee earning career.

She is passionate about creating a working culture that cultivates and nurtures staff development and morale, firmly believing that in conjunction with efficient systems and procedures, this naturally transcends into a positive customer service outcome.

Lindsey has won multiple awards throughout her career beginning with the LFS Best Young Conveyancer award in 2013 and most recently the Outstanding Business Leader of the Year Award at the British Conveyancing Awards in 2021.

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 (all of which carry out a significant number of residential conveyancing transaction annually) 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 (with over 1500 individual subscribers), and BLGTraining (CPD accredited), BLG members have over the years been given a voice and are kept informed about all relevant conveyancing issues, including (but not limited to) SRA Fraud Alerts, Law Society Practice Notes, HMLR updates, GDPR, the IDD, Dreamvar, VAT on searches/disbursements, Pricing and Transparency, cladding (EWS1), SDLT changes the Government’s current attempt at Improving the Home Buying and Selling Process, referral fees, the ongoing changes to Material Information and the Building Safety Act 2022!

Rob also set up National Conveyancing Week, now an annual event, which was launched in the Spring of 2023.

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.

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 that they are using their technology to the best of its ability.  They process map bespoke workflows and write the code for the required changes that their clients need across various software solutions.

In addition, they help legal teams through the change management process, to ensure that the changes being made are actually adopted by the users on every matter, every time – which is the key differentiator in 2023 as the regulations and reporting requirements tighten.

Sarah focuses on the risk and compliance behaviours in her work, in particular, finding ways to ensure her client firms are compliant and safe on every transaction. She also focuses on helping firms ensure that they are CQS compliant.

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.  Jane was one of the founder members of the Women In Residential Property Group.  She is also in demand as a commentator on National Radio and TV and has also written for national newspapers.

Dan Montagnani

CEO, Groundsure

Dan has been in the environmental risk arena for 26 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, Director & Licenced Conveyancer, Aconveyancing

Natalie founded Aconveyancing in 2017 after working in the property industry for 20 years. She is committed to building a business that delivers an unrivalled client service, setting higher standards across the entire legal profession.

As one of only 21 legal firms in the UK to hold the Gold Investors in People accreditation, Aconveyancing is on a mission to drive positive change in the industry, offering an employee experience based on transparency, innovation and integrity.

Through structured apprentice and training programmes, Aconveyancing is opening pathways into legal practice for talent from diverse backgrounds, helping to find and develop the conveyancing leaders of tomorrow.

Ian Quayle

Chief Executive, IQ Legal Training

Ian qualified as a solicitor and worked in private practice for 12 years specialising in property law matters including residential development work, commercial acquisitions and disposals.

Since becoming a full-time trainer Ian has delivered over 2500 property-related training courses for city and regional firms, local law societies and local authorities. His training style and delivery are 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 provides training to businesses in-house, public courses, and regularly speaks 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.

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. In addition to training qualified legal staff, Ian has taught a number of training courses aimed at support staff and often undertakes work as a consultant for legal software providers. 

Ian currently works for numerous professional bodies, government organisations, and law firms.

Rakeebah Rahim

Partner, Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

Rakeebah qualified in 1993 having trained with Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP,  specialising in crime and fraud, and building up the practice from scratch to become one of the largest teams in London. In the process she was recognised as a Legal 500 Recommended Lawyer and worked on the most serious of cases. In 2013 she became the firm’s Managing Partner and has overseen its expansion firm from 30 to over 130 people, including opening regional offices in Manchester and Exeter. Much of the growth of the firm has been in specialist property law and in the domestic conveyancing market, where Rakeebah has taken the lead in recruitment and development of the firm’s people as well as developing key client relationships.

Rakeebah has a keen interest in finding business opportunities and individual talent for the firm, with a special interest in equality and diversity. She has been recognised by Women & Diversity Awards for her work in promoting diversity in the recruitment process and career development of the firm’s staff.

Priscilla Sinder

Managing Director, Property Conveyancing Consultancy

Priscilla 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 with a new publication due in 2024.

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

Julie Williams

Co-Founder and Director, Convey Assist

Julie has worked in the property sector for over 35 years with experience ranging from residential conveyancing and operational management to establishing an outsourced title checking business. 

Now working as Head of Service Delivery with Complete ASAP supporting sales progression and legal network management as well as retaining a non executive role with ConveyAssist the company she co-founded she thrives on delivering results and supporting the development of staff and business opportunities and is excited to be part of the British Conveyancing Awards.

Clare Yates

Freelance Business Consultant, CY Training Works

Clare is a freelance trainer and business consultant with extensive experience in the residential property industry. She specialises in areas such as new business generation, growth, and performance. Clare has worked in various sectors within the industry, including insurance, estate agency, lettings, financial services, panel management, business development, account management, and training.

Clare shares her wealth of experience through tailored training and consultancy services primarily focused on residential estate agencies, law firms, and other property-related businesses. Her client list is extensive, including prominent law firms and independent estate agents in England and Wales.

Additionally, Clare has a significant presence within the residential property sector, as a regular speaker at conferences and as a judge for a number of industry awards.

Clare serves on the committee for Women in Estate Agency and Women in Residential Property, with the desire to support and inspire others in their career journey.

Clare helps her clients to convert their new business enquiries into instructions, create a great customer experience and turn difficult people into advocates.