Diary of a high street conveyancer: 18th September 2023

I have been on holiday for a week – only a week, but I think we would all agree that in conveyancing land, a week is a long time. And is it really a holiday when you take your laptop with you and check emails sporadically throughout the day?

When criticism is levelled at conveyancing solicitors; that we hold up house moves, that we delay matters;that we are not proactive, I do get slightly irritated as I know that many of my colleagues do deal with emails and urgent work when they are away. It may be that they are only out of the office for a day, it might be that they are trying to have a family holiday.

One of the curses of modern technology is that we can work remotely and with a cloud based conveyancing system, it is possible to work from anywhere in the world. I do sometimes look on with envy at the posts of conveyancers who are practicing in sunnier climes, especially with the growth in the consultancy model, particularly for conveyancing services.

But how we handle working away from the office, especially if we are on holiday, is vital.

Conveyancing is a stressful job and it is important to take a break. During the SDLT holiday, we all worked as many hours as we could. Not for our own benefit but to enable clients to move home.

There were days when I arrived at my office and thought that I was in Groundhog day – it was endless pressure. Conveyancing is not an option for the faint of heart due to the long hours and the mental demands. Those demands often come from the clients expecting us to deliver at the drop of a hat; but many lawyers are perfectionists and that can also lead to increased stress. It can be overwhelming, and with the relentless pressure of emails and telephone calls, it can lead to burnout.

This is what we have seen happen since the end of the SDLT holiday, with many very experienced conveyancers leaving the profession, but also a growth in consultancy model; an interesting development in the market and one which I may return to in a few weeks.

For some time, conveyancers have lived to work, rather than worked to live. So go on that holiday, but try and ignore the emails (and I know how hard that can be!). Enjoy some down time and refresh those batteries. Come back fully recharged and ready to tackle a job that you used to love.

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