Judges

Karen Babington

Karen Babington

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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. Solve Legal introduced the British Wills and Probate Awards in addition to the British Conveyancing Awards which are now highly regarded in the legal sector calendar.

David Baskerville

David Baskerville

Director and Lead Consultant - Baskerville Drummond Consulting Ltd

A seasoned Legal IT specialist, David founded Baskerville Drummond in 2011 and has grown the consultancy to be one of the leading providers of independent strategic advice to UK Law Firms.  He has assisted many firms undertaking strategic reviews, system selection and implementation, and is a retained trusted advisor (or Virtual IT Director) for several well known firms.  David is particularly known for his work on complex projects, such as the MAB demerger and for turning-around failing practice management systems (PMS’s) or other challenging technology situations. 

Mandy Brown

Mandy Brown

Managing Director - LawSure Insurance

Mandy is Managing Director and Co-owner of award winning LawSure Insurance, the UK’s leading specialist insurance broker for title insurance.

The company 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.

Simon Brown

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!

Sue Carter

Sue Carter

Strategic Consultant - Consult Sue Carter Ltd

After 40 years working in the banking and professional services sectors, I set up my own consultancy business, Consult Sue Carter Ltd, in January 2021. During my banking career, I spent over 30 years advising law firms in areas including succession planning, mergers, acquisitions and disposals, coping strategies, funding solutions and balance sheet restructuring.  I have a reputation for being a serious thinker about the legal sector and its future.  Previously held a senior leadership role as UK Head of Professional Services Sector at Clydesdale Bank PLC and led a team of 28 sector experts across the UK.  In 2008, I achieved an MBA in Legal Practice Management and since 2015 have held a voluntary position as a lay Member on the Law Society of Scotland Council.  In February 2021, appointed as a Non-Executive Director at Switalskis Solicitors, where I am involved in the group’s financial management and performance, as well as wider business strategy and planning.  

Paul Coombes

Paul Coombes

Director – Legal Marketing Works

Paul Coombes is a legal marketing specialist with over 18 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

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.

Stephen Desmond

Stephen Desmond

Conveyancing Specialist - Desmond Training Limited

Since 2004, Stephen Desmond has delivered more than 1,900 CPD events to lawyers from a variety of backgrounds, with a particular focus on flat and apartment leases and practical solutions.  

Stephen is a contributing editor to Butterworths Property Law Service, writing on the complex law relating to long and short leases.  He has also written often on the subject of commercial property, and run a university-accredited distance-learning course for aspiring paralegals in the subject of residential conveyancing. 

A former practicing Solicitor with several years post-qualification experience, Stephen has represented many business and private clients, including property investors and local authorities.

Rob Hailstone

Rob Hailstone

CEO - Bold Legal Group

Rob, an ex-residential property conveyancer with over 45 years’ 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 MHCLG. As well as the weekly information bulletins, having a thriving online Q & A forum, and BLGTraining (CPD accredited), BLG members have 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), the Government’s current attempt at Improving the
Home Buying and Selling Process, and the SDLT holiday!

BLG member firms are among the 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.

Sally Holdway

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

Alex Holt

Director of Business Development - The Cashroom Ltd

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

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 to help law firms change the way that they deliver their services.  Dealing with risk and compliance, and increasing profit within departments are areas that she focuses on in her consultancies with law firms, and in the process maps that she writes – in particular, finding ways to ensure that on every transaction the right technology and procedures (combined with the human habits and behaviours) keep her client firms compliant and safe. www.thecspartnership.com

Jane King

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.

Lucy Morrison

Lucy Morrison

Head of Client Services - Hedges Law

Lucy has worked in and with the legal profession for 25 years, both as a practitioner and business leader. She has recently joined Hedges Law, the fifth law firm in the country to become employee-owned, where she is Head of Client Services. Prior to this Lucy was the Managing Director at Central Law Training, a leading provider of training and accreditations to lawyers across the UK.

Victor Olowe

Victor Olowe

Governance Consultant

Victor is a governance consultant, board reviewer and a former Chief Executive of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers with expertise in professional regulation, consumer protection, risk management and board governance.

He is currently a Non-Executive Director/Member in a number of organisations including Chair of the CGMA Examination Board at CIMA/AICPA, Chair of Water UK’s Independent Sewerage and Water Adoption Panels, Chair of the Quality Assurance Scheme Committee at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and a lay Non-Executive board member of The Intellectual Property Regulation Board (IPReg.)

Victor was a former Non-Executive member of the Law Society’s CQS Assessment Panel and Accreditation Appeal Panel.

Matthew Pennington

Matthew Pennington

Chair - UKLTA

Matt is Chair of the UK Legal Technology Association (UKLTA) – a community where legal professionals, technology providers and consumers of legal services come together in order to help shape the future of legal services delivery collaboratively.

Rakeebah Rahim

Rakeebah Rahim

Partner - Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP

I qualified in 1993 having trained with Ronald Fletcher Baker LLP. I specialised in crime and fraud, building up the practice from scratch to become one of the largest teams in London. In the process I became recognised as a Legal 500 recommended lawyer and worked on the most serious of cases. From 2013 I changed into the management and development of the firm as its Managing Partner. Since then I have 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. I have taken the lead in recruitment and development of our partners,  team leaders and staff as well as developing key client relationships. I have 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

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 her new book has been published by Law Brief Publishing: ‘A Practical Guide to Document Signing and Electronic Signatures for Conveyancers’. She is looking forward to the publication of ‘A Practical Guide to Freehold Conveyancing’.

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 

Stephen Ward

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.