Solicitors Journal - Blockchain May Be the Panacea You Need

Simon Farthing argues the benefits of collective adoption of blockchain for firms

If I had to identify the most important factor in improving the conveyancing process from my time in practice, I would say it was communication. Buying and selling a home is an extremely emotive activity which impacts people in a personal way. It can be incredibly stressful and involves a community of interconnected people, generally who have little or no prior relationship, coming together to make some big life decisions. Often those decisions and the requirements of those involved, conflict and have significant financial and personal consequences.

Of course, the conveyancing sector often receives bad press, some of it can be fair. There are some poor providers and poor behaviours in the market, but there’s also exceptional talent and some caring individuals who want to provide an outstanding service.

Limited success
Many conveyancers have worked hard to overcome the problems and there are some good success stories where firms have adopted automation technology to become more competitive, financially as well as from a service delivery standpoint.

The challenge though, is these few great firms do not translate into industry-wide efficiency, quality of service and superior client experience. Why? Because firms across the sector are at varying stages of digitisation and digitalisation. For instance, typically, many conveyancing law firms have some digitalised processes because they’ve deployed some form of case management system. They’re also conducting searches online, undertaking registrations through a portal, verifying clients’ identity digitally and so on – but at the same time there are many providers still heavily dependent on paper-based procedures.  

Many parts of the transaction process still require physical signatures on documents that are sent and received by post. There’s also much time spent updating parties via email or on the telephone, which can lead to significant delays on account of awaiting for responses.

Client frustration
Hence, especially from a lawyer’s standpoint, the problems pertaining to cross-party collaboration remain unsolved even if their own firm is a forward-thinking, adopter of modern technology. This impacts the quality of service they are able to provide to their clients.

An individual conveyancer may adopt the leading-edge technology and automation in their own firm, but when they start interacting with the wider market – conveyancers, lenders, estate agents, public authorities, sellers, property developers, buyers and such – often the benefits of speed, efficiency, consistency, transparency and communication are significantly reduced. Due to digitisation, everything is disparate – i.e. money is in a bank account, contracts are in a Word document exchanged via email, the titles are at the Land Registry and such.

All the components are in separate, disconnected digital worlds – and so the information exists in siloed systems that don’t have common standards. As a result, the entire conveyancing process remains friction-ridden and lengthy. 

Read the full article 'Blockchain May Be the Panacea You Need' by Simon Farthing, Commercial and Marketing Director, LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions here.

Solicitors Journal - Blockchain May Be the Panacea You Need preview