Find out what lost opportunities could be costing your firm and how to use technology to maximise them instead – from time savings to financial growth, here’s what you need to know.
Are missed opportunities costing conveyancing firms?
As the property market slows after riding the extreme highs of recent years, many law firms are looking at how they can maximise every opportunity. Between the impact of a shrinking talent pool as the conveyancing industry experiences a career exodus and economic influences have consumers tightening their belts, law firms are caught in the middle.
The end of 2022 is nearing and firms will be assessing what changes they can make to set themselves up for success in 2023. Understanding how to identify opportunities, which processes can be optimised, and where existing tools can be maximised is essential for conveyancers.
For some, a slowdown in the market might offer a welcome reprieve from the volumes in recent years. Though many will be wondering how they can stretch their bottom line further or improve current processes to reduce the impact of a slower property market.
Recently, a new report, the Digital Conveyancing Maturity Index identified pre-completion to be the least digitally mature area within the conveyancing process. Coming in with an industry average score of just 30%, it highlighted that this part of the conveyancing process is ripe with opportunity. The question now for law firms is how to find those opportunities and implement strategies to make the most of them.
What are the opportunities for conveyancers?
Pre-completion offers the most room for opportunity and growth based on the findings from the report. But it’s not the only place where opportunities can be found. Optimising your workflow by adopting technology offers value across the entire conveyancing process. Here are a few ways you can maximise them and the benefits.
Increased productivity means better value transactions
Value comes in many shapes and forms; financial, time savings, and enjoyment from clients and staff. Saving time improves your staff satisfaction while also saving you money on what is usually a flat-fee area of law. It's a network of benefits available from every angle. When it comes to the tech, here are some of the best options available to you.
- Digital onboarding – set your client experience off to a good start from initial instruction. Digital ID checks and Open Banking save you time and manage risk, it’s also reducing onboarding timelines from two weeks to two days on average.
- Automated title reports – let technology do that hard work collating and analysing data, then building a ready-made report that is prepared to be client-friendly. You just need to use your expertise to know how to make those final necessary touches.
- eSignatures – HMLR has been accepting them since 2020 and lenders are starting to accept them too. From onboarding documents to Land Registry and Mortgage deeds, make sure you’re using eSignatures everywhere they are accepted – no time or money wasted on printing and postage, and they’re significantly more secure too.
- Integrate your CMS – integrations save a huge amount of time and provide a single source of truth. This one is a no-brainer and the highest-scoring firms in the Digital Conveyancing Maturity Index are all doing this.
- Digital Dashboards – whether it’s monitoring digital AP1s or preparing reports for PI renewal, having access to the level of transparency and insight that digital dashboards offer is invaluable. No more missed deadlines, no more digging out paper or PDFs to show evidence of compliance, it’s all there ready for you.
Winning new business
Anne-Marie Smith, Head of Conveyancing at Priory Law, told us at the Digital Conveyancing Summit how she won the business of a new client because the firm is digital-first. Another firm had provided information via 100-pages of printed forms and information. Instead, Priory Law were able to provide everything that the client needed online – he wasn’t going to need to take a day off work to deal with the paperwork anymore. Winning business because of digitisation isn’t a one-off either, more firms are reporting their clients seek them out because of it.
Talent retention and acquisition is higher
Conveyancing talent are actively seeking out firms who value technology in the conveyancing process. Peter Carr, IT Head at Fisher Jones Greenwood, told us that they were reaping the benefits of being a tech-forward firm when it came to recruitment. Candidates were actively seeking out the firm to obtain training contracts because of the technology and digital services used by the firm. With a competitive hiring marketing and a reduced talent pool in conveyancing, technology could put you ahead of the rest.
How much is digital conveyancing helping firms financially?
Digital conveyancing is saving law firm hundreds of hours every month. From increasing productivity through automation tools to minimising risk with digital dashboards, every minute saved counts. Conveyancing is typically a flat-fee service, meaning if a property transaction takes dozens of hours more than expected, you could be losing out.
Northwest-based firm, Bell Lamb & Joynson has seen first-hand the impact that going digital can have on your business. In 2022, the firm’s annual turnover has increased by 36% with most of those instructions attributed to repeat business, recommendations, and an effective online presence. The conveyancing department alone has grown by 19% through fee income and instructions. Much of this growth has been a direct result of adopting digital conveyancing.
By letting technology do the heavy lifting, you can reduce the time your teams spend on time-consuming administrative processes. Not only does this make your business more profitable, it will also improve staff satisfaction as they can spend more time nurturing client relationships and practising their chosen profession.
How can you find opportunities?
The Digital Conveyancing Maturity Index is a short questionnaire that explores how digital the tools and services you use throughout your conveyancing process are. It takes around 10 minutes to complete the survey and you’ll receive a personalised report with your results to help you identify which areas you’re doing well in and others where there is room for improvement.
Once you know which areas present opportunities, you can begin planning your strategy for filling the gaps and making the most of the technology you have or finding new solutions that fit your needs. Follow the six-step guide to becoming a digital-first law firm and build a plan for success in 2023.