By Legal Futures Associate The Link App
Conveyancers will be glad to hear that the Stamp Duty Holiday has its final cutoff point on September 30th, after which they can forget all about the rush of completions now and in late June. It’s been a stressful 18 months for everyone, but it’s been acute in this profession where a third of conveyancers know someone who’s burned out of the job altogether. But as they rush to get through the backlog of work, they’d do well to keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be this way.
This period should be a call to action, and for many law firms it already is. 55% of respondents to the LexisNexis Bellwether Report 2021 said they were already looking to modernise business practises in the wake of the pandemic, which includes investing in new processes and technologies. Legaltech saw explosive growth over the pandemic as firms had to quickly adapt to working digitally. But even now, lawyers are still spending precious time chasing up for responses to emails, managing documents or other low-value work. They should think: “could we make this process faster?”, “could this be automated?”, “how could we make this easier for us? For our clients?”
The traditional method of onboarding clients was made obsolete by the pandemic, but even as we emerge “back to normal” there’s no going back to that now. Clients had to take time out of their day to visit the office, maybe navigate city centre parking, hand over their passport or driver’s license, have a meeting with the firm, and have their documents verified manually in a process that could cause major delays for the case.
This is not the first impression you want to make, and the next step forward from this isn’t much better: if conveyancers are asking clients to share documents over email, that’s a lot of sensitive information going back and forth ready to be intercepted amidst a rising tide over cybercrime, 96% of which is committed via email. We’ve written about the inherent security risks of email before, but this process also requires you and your clients to do unnecessary work before their case can get started and you can get paid.
Highly-automated Digital ID Verification solutions can get rid of all the legwork for all parties; you just assign the task to your client, they complete the check using their mobile or laptop camera in minutes and AI systems automatically use facial recognition algorithms and data checks to verify that they are who they say they are. This is a huge improvement that lets conveyancers and their clients hit the ground running, but as part of a larger digital onboarding solution it can be part of a seamless movement from enquiry, to onboarding to the sharing of initial documents.
Collecting the necessary information about any given property doesn’t need to be a long, involved back-and-forth between you and your client; why not set out a detailed series of questions once, then have every client going forward give you everything you could possibly need to know in one easy step?
The pandemic changed clients’ expectations about how much work can be done online and on the move, so they’re always surprised at best when they get an email from their conveyancer asking them to dust off the printer to sign a form. Something that could be done by 10am Monday could now take all day as the client has to get home from work, carry out the whole process and email a scan for the conveyancer to find in amongst everything else on Tuesday morning. Amongst many clients, those delays add up fast; firms could save so much time and money by meeting clients where they are and adopting mobile-friendly e-signature solutions that allow clients to sign anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Email is another cause of delays and we’d all do well to minimise the time we spend caught in it. Leaving aside cognitive load—which bestselling author Cal Newport has written about in books like A World Without Email—and the delays caused by switching contexts as often as the inbox demands, it’s so easy for conveyancers trying to communicate across many people to find themselves wrapped up in days-long email chains or chasing up unresponsive parties.
Email has fundamental flaws that can’t be patched over, and rather than try to mitigate things, conveyancers could radically speed up client interactions by adopting instant messaging. Rather than having to sit down with one case or client at a time, you could be quickly talking to multiple clients at once and getting the day’s correspondence out of the way in one block. Your clients will be on different devices and at different levels of comfort with technology, but for you that shouldn’t matter; omni-channel communication lets you reach clients wherever it’s quickest for them to get back to you.
These are just some of the opportunities that could make busy periods like this so much easier for you, your team, and your clients. If they’d make life easier now, imagine how big the difference could be once work returns back to normal.
The Link App was created to transform the client experience provided by law firms; traditional profession, modern approach. We drive the profession forward through a full-service, white-labelled platform including convenient and secure communications, digital onboarding, case tracking and document sharing between legal professionals and their clients, anywhere, any time, on any device. Book a short demo today, and see why 75% of lawyers who do begin transforming how their firm operates in just 30 days.