A FIRM of solicitors which has an office in Thirsk has been named the next residential conveyancing firm in England and Wales.

Harrowells Solicitors won "Overall Conveyancing Firm of the Year – Gold Award at the Law Firm Services National Conveyancing Awards at NEC Birmingham, last week.

It last year won the silver award as national runner-up and has also been voted Regional Conveyancing Firm of the Year – North East and Yorkshire for the third successive year.

Harrowells was presented with an engraved silver trophy, which it holds for one year as national winner, and an engraved glass trophy to keep for both the national and regional awards. The awards attracted more than 100 entries from national and regional law firms throughout England and Wales.

The judging included regular feedback, gathered by customer experience researchers, Insight6, from a large sample of entrants’ clients as they progressed through their transactions; mystery shopper testing of the experience of requesting and receiving a telephone quote; a detailed review of template documents used for sending information to clients, a rigorous telephone interview and a detailed submission probing entrants’ approach to IT development, training and other aspects of service to maintain high standards.

The judges said: "Providing context to customers is essential and Harrowells has spent a lot of time 'breaking down' the conveyancing process into bite-size pieces to help customers understand the entire transaction.

"The firm adopts a proactive approach to customer engagement, and is keen to ensure that a personal service is provided. The firm has also invested in its IT systems to ensure that they are user-friendly for both staff and customers.”

Janet Rhodes-Blangsted, Harrowells residential team partner and operations manager, said: “Winning the top national award is fantastic and very difficult as they are hotly contested with stiff competition. We are always working to be ahead of any regulation and compliance changes and keep a close watch on local and national markets.

“The options for buyers and sellers have increased and we make sure we understand what choices are available and offer bespoke advice to clients, from first-time to later-in-life buyers. Winning this year’s national title demonstrates that focusing on a smooth, hassle-free transaction for our clients is a winning formula.”

Harrowells was among the first law firms to warn about cyber security, including how sophisticated criminal gangs operate in the housing chain, setting up bogus email addresses and spurious law firms, to syphon off money on the completion of house sales, and to put rigorous defences in place to combat them.

The firm has three offices in York and others in Pocklington, Easingwold and Thirsk.