Following the controversial launch by the Law Society of home conveyancing portal Veyo, members of the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) have collaborated to launch a free rival offering backed by the not-for-profit organisation.

Free2Convey is the result of collaboration between companies including Advanced Legal; Easy Convey; Eclipse; Linetime; OchreSoft; The Osprey Legal Cloud; Oyez Professional Services; Quill Pinpoint; Redbrick Solutions; and Select Legal.

A form of freeware software that the LSSA says “will always be free”, Free2Convey has largely been developed by Pracctice – the developers behind the Osprey Legal Cloud – and is currently in beta testing, set to go live before the end of 2015. LSSA chairman Matt Lancaster is also the sales and marketing director of Pracctice.

The Free2Convey website shows the stage that each person in a conveyancing chain is at and gives visibility to the conveyancing process. It will be freely available to all parties in a chain, regardless of the software package they may be using. Free2Convey also has on online virtual deal room, where parties can upload documents and collaboratively work on material. All work is performed in Microsoft Word, with the facility to track and approve or reject changes.

“The LSSA is supporting this industry collaboration to provide a free to use conveyancing portal to all UK conveyancing professionals,” said Lancaster.

“We feel that there has been a lot of uncertainty in this area which is damaging to the conveyancing industry so we have collaborated to offer choice to the market. It is the role of the LSSA to advance legal technology in the UK and we see Free2Convey as a perfect example of how we are able to do this. We welcome others in the software industry to join us in this initiative.”

The LSSA has been an outspoken critic of the Law Society’s decision to promote one particular system or supplier, a move seen by some as also blurring its role as impartial representative for the profession.

It is interesting to note that Eclipse, which is one of the Law Society’s controversial preferred suppliers and has already integrated with Veyo, is also backing the LSSA venture. However Eclipse’s marketing director Darren Gower said: “It’s about choice. Veyo is a different animal: some of our clients and prospects may find it useful and can still use Proclaim. As and when other things come up, if we see a client demand we’ll integrate with that too.”

Veyo, a joint venture between the Law Society and IT solutions company Mastek UK, was announced in October. It costs £20 per transaction plus a £50 annual administration charge.