Conveyancing Struggles: The humanity behind the numbers


There’s no doubt that the last few years have been challenging for conveyancing firms. In truth, they have been challenging for us all, between a global pandemic, lockdowns, and now a dramatic increase in the cost of living.

The recent Conveyancing Market Tracker from Search Acumen, a property data and insight provider, suggests that it’s all looking rosy for conveyancers, with the average firm clocking up their biggest financial year on record in 2021/22. But what’s the real story behind those numbers, and are they even sustainable in the current climate?

Tech is your friend

Like most other sectors, the legal profession was forcibly reminded of the importance of tech in the modern workplace amidst the chaos of Covid. Hybrid working and remote solutions became the norm rather than the exception for almost a year, and a lot of firms were quickly made aware of the gaps which existed in their tech.

It’s not just physical solutions like laptops and mobiles though – technology can enhance every stage of the conveyancing process in an age where clients expect information to be quick, accurate, and comprehensive.

If your clients are used to using apps and communicating electronically in every other aspect of their lives, your firm must be geared up to offer them the same in their property matters if it’s to keep them happy.

Add in that technological solutions can improve the efficiency of your service and cut down the time taken by fee earners and support staff in coping with the larger workloads that increased market activity brings, and it’s a no-brainer that you need your firm to be at the cutting edge of the tech available in order to be competitive.

Burnout is real

Lots of work is great, but given the demands placed on conveyancers by clients, financial advisers, and estate agents, an increased workload can quickly turn into burnout for your staff. Tech can help with this as above, but you also need to be aware of the issues which impact people on a human level.

The Pandemic was a seismic event, and its effects are likely to be felt for some time to come. People have re-assessed their priorities in the wake of it all, and your fee earners and support staff are likely to be no different.

Add in the massive increase in workload after the Stamp Duty holiday was introduced, and you need to be more mindful than ever of the mental health and well-being of your staff if your firm is to survive in the 21st Century.

Costs are only going one way

Electricity, gas, and other amenities are experiencing unprecedented rises in costs, which is impacting everyone from the sole householder to the large business owner.

Add in for law firms that PII premiums have been consistently rising for the last couple of years.

Claims against firms are on the increase and it’s not difficult to see why many small to medium-sized firms are either merging with larger outfits or closing their doors altogether.

This is to say nothing of the increased staffing taken on by many firms thanks to that bumper 2021-22 financial year which may not be financially viable if those levels of activity are not sustained in the long term.

Difficult decisions are going to have to be made by many firms, and any cost-saving measures which don’t impact jobs should be at the top of firms’ priorities.

A shifting landscape

The Law Society’s alterations to the CQS requirements. The SRA looking at increasing the maximum level of financial penalties it can dole out to firms. Near constant changes to the SDLT legislation.

The conveyancing landscape in the U.K. has seldom been static but the pace of change seems to constantly increase.

There’s no indication that this will slow down any time soon either. Firms must be flexible and responsive in order to continue to thrive in a sector where the potential exists equally with a challenge.

How we can help

We can’t increase your wage budget, provide wellness seminars for your fee earners or make your clients’ expectations less demanding.

What we can do is provide a proven tech solution that reduces the time pressure on your fee earners, dramatically reduces the level of risk to your firm in terms of SDLT errors, and integrates seamlessly with your existing processes.

"If your solicitor isn’t using it already, it might be time to change solicitors. Get in touch today!"