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The Burden the Conveyancing Profession Carries

Simon Farthing, Director of Client Engagement, LexisNexis Enterprise Solutions

“One’s days were too brief to take the burden of another’s errors on one’s shoulders. Each man lived his own life, and paid his own price for living it. The only pity was one had to pay so often for a single fault”. These words from Oscar Wilde in Dorian Grey speak of the burden of the human condition, but lately they possibly resonate quite well with most conveyancers! Decisions in cases such as Dreamvar vs Mishcon de Reya have added significantly to the industry’s burden and some firms are rightly wondering how far they have to go to discharge their numerous duties in relation to a single transaction.

To add to their woes, recent research shows that conveyancers must brace themselves for an uncertain market in the face of Brexit and industry consolidation. It’s expected that housing transactions will decrease as people rent more, due to rising prices and the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) increase on buy-to-let properties. This is despite last year seeing the highest number of conveyancing volumes since 2007.

More regulation means more administration, but simple economics tells us that the market will not support the cost associated with delivering a compliant offering. Failure to meet schedules and ensure quality of documentation are commonly cited customer complaints to the Legal Ombudsman. Firms have to deliver conveyancing services efficiently. By using integrated workflow technology, firms can ensure a consistent user experience, greatly improve repeat and new business opportunities, and mitigate risk. Our legal workflow and case management solution, Lexis Visualfiles, is perfectly suited to facilitate this.

Visualfiles is designed to enable firms to set up controls, automate key processes and reminders and support overall service delivery through efficient case management. Schedules can be easily adhered to and supervisory checks executed to guarantee that searches and surveys are suitably carried out. Similarly, the controls can help ensure that funds and offers of lending are correctly received and processed and that the right advice is delivered to clients on title and contract. In fact, we have taken this capability one step further in Visualfiles to deliver an out-of-the-box answer to many of the issues currently faced. Our Visualfiles Conveyancing Accelerators are a great example of smart technology. Conveyancers of any size can get rapid access to the Visualfiles workflow system that is used by the majority of the top 20 conveyancing firms (based on Land Registry data). These Accelerators are designed to deliver an efficient, compliant and profitable conveyancing service – from quotation and instruction through to linked sale and purchase or in transfer of equity, re-mortgage or even plot sales.

Crucially, in today’s cybercrime environment, conveyancing firms can leverage workflow and automation technology to institute robust identity management due diligence processes to reduce exposure to fraud by ensuring correct validation and recording of client’s identity. The Visualfiles Risk & Compliance Accelerator, which supports the Conveyancing Accelerators is one such tool. Add integration to the industry’s leading search tools, finance systems, automated registration and other services and Visualfiles becomes the answer to the question; “How I am going to thrive with all this extra burden?”

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