Busy law firms need to find more time. Discover which five types of technology are helping law firms save time every month and maximise their efforts.
5 technology solutions to save you hours on pre-completion tasks every month
Pre-completion is the heftiest part of the conveyancing process. Between contract packs and searches, indemnities, enquiries, and title reports, conveyancers spend hours on these tasks for every transaction. The Digital Conveyancing Maturity Index recently reported that pre-completion was the least digitised area of the conveyancing process, scoring an industry average of just 30%.
What that translates to is a lot of firms spending an awful amount of time and energy on pre-completion tasks. A lot of firms still rely heavily on manual methods for this part of the process such as email, telephone calls, or in some cases, even post. And while it might seem like that’s ‘just how it’s done’, it’s important that law firms know they have other options.
Why should law firms focus on digitising pre-completion?
Digitisation is shaking up how law firms approach conveyancing tasks. From onboarding right through to post-completion, end-to-end digital conveyancing is on the table. So, if the tech is already available, why aren’t more firms using it? And better yet, why should they?
Pre-completion makes up the lion’s share of the conveyancing process which means there is a lot of time that property teams are spending on tasks that could benefit from digitisation. The reality is there are some tasks that technology is better at. It’s the repetitive, time-consuming tasks that tech is really good at. That’s where automation really shines.
Contract packs are a great example. You need to spend time collating documents from Land Registry, collecting the TA forms, gathering the information that needs to go into those packs. It might take 30 minutes. But automation means this information is collected in seconds. In the time you would manually complete one, you can now prepare and send out half a dozen or more.
Because in these scenarios, the final product still relies on the expertise of the solicitor. It’s just that tech has taken away the burden of the arduous part of the process, meaning you can spend more time nurturing your client relationships. More time taking on new instructions. And more time finding a better work/life balance.
Rather than conveyancers focusing their efforts on repetitive tasks, it’s freeing them up for more critical tasks that do need the attention and knowledge that only a human can offer. Digitisation also aids improved accuracy. Every time data is rekeyed there’s the risk the input could be incorrect. If documents and results need to be emailed, saved, and then uploaded to a matter, there’s a chance they will get missed or assigned to the wrong file.
Again, this is where technology shines. Cutting out those manual processes isn’t just a time-saver, it’s also helping you manage risks. And to really bring the whole thing together, CMS integration is the silver bullet in any law firm's digital conveyancing toolkit. It’s the final piece that wraps everything together enacting a sophisticated tech ecosystem.
5 technologies to save time on pre-completion
So now we know why digitisation in pre-completion is important, it’s time to review which solutions are having the biggest impact on law firms. Based on the responses of more than 200 law firms, we’ve explored what is behind the highest-scoring firms which technology solutions they’re using, and how they’re benefitting.
1. Digital Contract Packs
When the information you source for contract packs can be digitised, why wouldn’t you digitise the contract pack too? TA forms are available with digital onboarding, Land Registry office copies and the EPC are available, and Standard Conditions of Sale need to be included. You could search for and collate these documents manually, or you could automate the process and bring it down to just a few minutes.
Better still, there is technology that flags any inconsistencies in the information so you can review it before you send it out. We’ve seen validations work well for reducing requisitions and now the same concept is being applied elsewhere, reducing the risk of delays further down the line. Most firms still aren’t digitising their contract packs and this means they’re having time sucked away from them when technology could be streamlining the process.
2. Automated lender updates
Keeping lenders updated is something a lot of law firms have mentioned is a pain point for them. It’s a process that tends to involve a lot of reminder emails, having to log into an additional system, and ultimately takes someone hours every month. 69% of firms surveyed are still manually completing this process. It’s time they know there’s a better way.
Automating lender updates means the process isn’t slowed down, it’s cutting hours off someone’s to-do list every week, and it’s keeping the lender happy. This technology is quick to get started with, so has minimal outlay for a big reward – we love the ROI on this one.
3. Standardised enquiries portals
One of the tougher areas of pre-completion to manage is the enquiries process. It involves both sides’ law firms and there’s a good chance they won’t operate the same way. So, switching to a digital solution here requires a leap of faith from solicitors, because there’s a lot of ‘chicken and the egg’ situation taking place.
Can’t we just keep sending emails? Does the technology even exist? How do you standardise enquiries? To answer those in order, no, yes, and in a nutshell, a portal that both sides access neutrally is the solution. A system where both parties can provide additional information and documentation, answer enquiries, and manage the entire process is the way forward.
Technology of this kind already exists, but it’s going to take longer for law firms to adopt, because until most use it, standardisation is still a way off. Though to get there, firms need to move away from emailing enquiries and begin collaborating for the benefit of everyone involved.
4. Automated title reports
There appears to be a shift in firms moving toward seeking out solutions to help prepare title reports digitally. 37% of respondents in the Digital Conveyancing Maturity Index are now using third-party software to build these; more than half of these also benefit from these reports being automatically populated with data from external sources such as their search provider and HMLR.
Preparing a report on title takes a firm around two hours on average and with so many pieces of data that go into the final report, it’s crucial that the information is correct. Using automation saves time, but it also prevents errors.
Ensuring that the final report is also client-friendly is essential. Home movers aren’t adept at understanding industry jargon and terminology, so in order to ensure they understand what they’re reading, using a library of compliant and user-friendly content solves the issue.
5. CMS integration
A single source of truth is one of the best ways to minimise risk across the board in the conveyancing process. Integrating your case management system with your key service providers brings a level of cohesion that delivers excellent productivity. Wrapping everything together, it pre-populates information using data from the matter in your CMS, automatically returns searches and results, and it removes the risk of missed disbursements. It’s the piece of the puzzle that brings it all together.
To achieve maximum digitalisation throughout the entire process, integrating your CMS is the best way to go about it. The benefits aren’t only experienced during the pre-completion stages either, from start to finish it provides a holistic approach towards embedding valuable technology within your law firm.
If you’re looking to assess where you could be saving time, whether on pre-completion tasks or across the whole conveyancing process, then take the free digital conveyancing assessment. It only takes 10 minutes, and you’ll receive a personalised digital conveyancing maturity report including your digital maturity score. You’ll gain valuable insight into what your firm is doing well and where opportunities exist to optimise your conveyancing workflow with the support of digital solutions.