In the latest instalment of a saga that is beginning to have more twists and turns than Game of Thones, the Legal Software Suppliers Association (LSSA) has decided to distance itself from free conveyancing portal Free2Convey. Free2Convey was launched by the LSSA in the autumn of 2015 and was largely responsible for the demise of the Law Society’s rival pay-for online conveyancing offering Veyo, which was mothballed in December with losses of over £7m.
Citing a difference in vision for the future, at last week’s annual general meeting LSSA members agreed that the portal, which was developed by UK-based software company and LSSA member Pracctice, should be maintained and developed by Pracctice independently of LSSA members. Going forward, LSSA members will develop “separate commercial arrangements” with Free2Convey.
A statement from LSSA said: “At last week’s annual general meeting the LSSA membership welcomed the continuing development of Free2Convey but also recognised the differences between Pracctice and some LSSA members in commercial and market strategy, functional scope and product direction.
“As such, it was agreed that it was more appropriate for individual members to have separate commercial arrangements with Pracctice over the use of the Free2Convey portal rather than through an umbrella agreement with the LSSA as dictated by client demand.”
Julian Bryan (pictured on the home page), who was appointed as LSSA’s new chairman at the AGM, taking over from Pracctice’s sales and marketing director Matt Lancaster, said: “As the project has developed we found that the LSSA and Pracctice, who have undertaken the technical development of the Free2Convey project, did not share a commonality of vision for the future direction of the project. We are very happy to have lent our support to our member firm Pracctice to launch the product and we wish the firm well with its future development of Free2Convey.”
Lancaster said: “We are grateful for the support from the LSSA members in promoting Free2Convey to the legal profession and other stakeholders. Pracctice is looking forward to progressing with the development and marketing of Free2Convey.”
When the Law Society announced that it was pulling the plug on Veyo in December, Lancaster said: “This is the green light for the LSSA through Free2Convey to continue its work with the conveyancing profession. We welcome input and cooperation from all parties and it’s now time to establish Free2Convey as the central conveyancing portal to meet the needs of all stakeholders in property transactions.”
It now remains to be seen whether Free2Convey will benefit from the level of cooperation it had anticipated.