The latest advances in conveyancing technology will give early adopters the edge.
Talk to anyone who has moved house recently and the chances are they will have something to say about the length of time it took. Speed and communication are what clients want above all in their property transaction, but far too often they feel they have been forgotten while lawyers wait for documents to be sent, reviewed and signed.
Dealing with the issuing and completion of basic documents manually is inefficient and has scope for error. Implementing efficient, well-designed automation speeds up the process and frees up the conveyancer to focus on more complex issues.
Lawyers have traditionally been slow to adopt digital technology, but rewards are there for those who put the new technologies in place early.
Comprehensive case management systems reduce the amount of data entry needed by automatically completing forms, search requests and completion statements. Client portals allow buyers and sellers to log on and see exactly what stage each aspect of their transaction has reached. This is particularly appreciated by younger clients, who expect to be able to view everything digitally.
Progressively, entire transactions will become digitised. Artificial intelligence, or AI, means computers will be able to create, interpret and complete straightforward legal documents, including contracts, and request and analyse relevant searches. Newbuild sales in particular are likely to be carried out using standardised documentation and with minimal lawyer input.
The use of blockchain technology, an incorruptible computerised ledger, will mean that property ownership and mortgage lending can be registered electronically.
With the Land Registry looking to implement this technology to allow those involved in the conveyancing process to access the Register directly, firms who adopt automation will be at an immediate advantage.
In a world where people expect to be able to access information online almost as soon as it is requested, firms with the ability to meet these needs will be one step ahead. Taking advantage of new and improving technologies to streamline the conveyancing process will allow lawyers to significantly increase their speed, competitive edge and profitability. While computers deal with the routine processes, lawyers will be free to focus on more complex cases.
As conveyancing becomes more transparent, the future is likely to allow potential clients to see firms’ rankings for time taken and efficiency. Those who want to stay ahead of the game will look to invest now in digitisation.