Post by Martin Siddle |
A recent survey reported that the UK conveyancing market is undergoing a major revolution with more property transactions than ever being processed by fewer and fewer people doing the work.
All conveyancers are experiencing increased caseloads, but amid this mounting pressure their productivity has grown by nearly 70% since 2012. Among other things, the survey reported that in 2016 conveyancers were spending a day and a half less per case and doing one case a week more than four year earlier.
How has this incredible increase in productivity been achieved and why is it important to the UK conveyancing market?
The cost of a conveyancing transaction has not significantly changed in many years and recently we have seen new entrants, such as Purplebricks, offering fixed price fees in an attempt to disrupt the market.
In order to compete in a price sensitive and aggressive market, conveyancers are having to look to change the way they operate and adjust their business model in order to be successful. One way of successfully introducing these types of changes is for firms to better embrace technology, automation and to be more scientific in how they process transactions.
Most conveyancing firms will already have some form of case management solution in place, but many of these systems are 10 plus years old, are difficult and time consuming to develop / adapt and often were purchased as an “out of the box” solution, now offering firms little or no competitive advantage.
As well as working with a restrictive system many firms find themselves working with the same processes as when they introduced their case management solution. In many cases their users have developed “work arounds” to speed up processes, cut corners and make up for deficiencies in their internal systems.
At LexisNexis, we believe that all law firms should embrace technology, automation and adopt systems that let them rapidly develop, tweak and amend their processes to accommodate an ever-changing market.
Many of the larger players in the conveyancing market, the likes of My Home Move, Countrywide Conveyancing Services and O’Neil Patient are constantly reviewing their processes and are looking to apply technology to automate, streamline and ensure that each step of a conveyancing matter is worked upon by the most appropriate and cost-effective member of staff. This may involve “offshoring” some processes, using Robots or offering their clients a “self-service” type solution.
In addition to the traditional case management system, forward thinking firms are also looking to introduce new technologies (client portals, mobile applications, e-signatures etc) as part of their overall conveyancing system and ensuring that each of these new features can be incorporated within their central systems. These new technologies allow firms to communicate with their clients in a more efficient way and on a 24 / 7 basis and this may include some form of Robot / automation process that can receive information, send out a reply and move the case forward with no human intervention.
Many firms now also expect to be able to integrate with other 3rd party solutions / provider (Land Registry, Search Providers, Lenders, Estate Agents, etc) to further automate and streamline their process, increase the productivity and take costs out of their business.
Furthermore, LexisNexis believes that a good case management system should provide tools to allow for the planning and modelling of work and that this should include being able to map the costs and duration of any type of work. These tools should allow firms to apply their own in-house targets or national averages and to track each case against these targets. This in turn will allow firms to analyse the flow, duration and the cost of each transaction and to monitor their staff’s productivity.
By using a combination of real-time reporting / data mining tools and the business modelling tools, firms will be able to identify any bottlenecks / potential improvements in their process and rapidly update their case management system to accommodate these changes.
The UK conveyancing market is undergoing a revolution and is a great example of where technology can be used to help deliver increased efficiencies, productivity and profits, while ensuring delivery of a quality service to clients.