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Conference allows us to start the year on the front foot

Firstly, and I know there’s an unwritten rule about not doing this so late in the month, but I wanted to wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

The Christmas and New Year break may already feel like a very long time ago, given we’ve now all been back in work for the last few weeks, but I hope you were able to enjoy some restful time away from the office and this allowed you to recharge your batteries.

The fact is that, without these welcome breaks, in an industry such as conveyancing the stresses and strains can sometimes get too much.

I read some recent research from tmgroup which looked at the working lot of conveyancers and, I’ll be honest, it was worrying, particularly in terms of employee wellbeing, mental health, and indeed thoughts on whether they were planning to stay in the sector for any length of time.

Having spoken to many firm owners and leaders, I suspect it is these very issues which are front and centre when it comes to planning for their future and indeed making sure staff are looked after and valued, and that they can rely on them for the years to come.

However, the research out of tmgroup did reveal some long-term challenges for the sector, not least dealing with a conveyancing employee base, a third of whom said they wanted to quit the sector over the course of the next five years citing issues over pay, work/life balance, wellbeing, respect between professions, and improvement in the management of the transaction.

Pay and conditions often tend to be at the heart of working life but it was informative to read that conveyancers are also concerned about the process itself and no doubt want to see action in this area to bring in more automation and speed it up.

I suspect a lot of the stress involved in the work itself comes down to the latter, the communication required between parties, and the stresses and strains that are obviously going to come when a transaction is taking a considerable amount of time to complete. Speed this up, deliver greater levels of certainty that a transaction is not going to fall through, and ensure everyone is working from the same page, and we have a better chance of making working lives better.

This will undoubtedly be a focus for the CA throughout the rest of 2023, but it will also play a major role in next month’s Annual Conference that I hope you have already heard about, and you are able to attend in London on the 7th February.

We’ve just this week finalised the full agenda and a great many of our speakers and given the title of the Conference, ‘Change is Coming’, we hope the sessions will be able to provide you with thought-provoking ideas on what is likely to be coming over the horizon, but also how you can work on the here and now, and ensure your firm is in the best possible shape to marry up the needs of the work itself, with that of your employees.

We believe we have put together a very strong agenda, covering topics such as regulation, consolidation, lender engagement, and the future of conveyancing, and we are also very pleased to be welcoming back, Professor Richard Susskind, to give us his views on what has been happening in the legal profession over the last few years, and specifically what this means for conveyancing in the future.

Our headline sponsors for the day are LMS, while following the Conference, we have a chance to let our hair down a little, with a Drinks Reception, sponsored by PEXA, and a Charity Dinner, sponsored by Conveyancing Data Services. Plus, this year our Dinner will be in aid of a wonderful charity, The Children’s Society, who provide specialist support that empowers young people to make positive changes.

It will be the first chance we have as a trade body, and an industry, to get together in the new year and to discuss challenges and solutions, network with colleagues and friends, and to help put everyone on the right footing for the year ahead.

I do hope you can join us and you can do so by registering here. We look forward to seeing you all next month.

Nicky Heathcote is Non-Executive Chair at the Conveyancing Association (CA)


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