The Importance of Balancing Humans and AI In Conveyancing

Digitisation of the property market and the role that conveyancers will play is a hot topic at the moment. Perhaps the most controversial and pressing question when it comes to the ever-growing presence of technology within the conveyancing process relates to the use of AI.

It is early days for many in their AI journey but what can we expect in the coming years from one of the most transformative and impactful technological developments humans have ever conceived? In this article, we will look at how AI can aid conveyancers and the risks and benefits of AI in the sector.

The value of AI and human input in conveyancing

Over the past couple of years, much has been said in the media about the potential of AI to take over jobs, including those within the legal profession. The question this raises is how much we can expect AI to take over conveyancing tasks in the future.

Alastair Waters – Pre-Sales Technical Delivery Director at SearchFlow, believes that AI will almost certainly be a valuable tool for conveyancers, but it is not a panacea; “I think that the thing we must appreciate with AI is it’s probably not going to solve every problem. It’s not the magic bullet, but if used in the right way, certainly help conveyancers immensely. Their roles and responsibilities will remain largely intact. What AI can do is help them shift focus and avoid the mundane”.

AI will and is already starting to become a tool for conveyancers, but the sector will need to ensure that the use of human resources and AI resources are carefully balanced to meet consumer protection needs and earn confidence. As we discuss in the next section, there are some important risks to be aware of when introducing AI into conveyancing.

Consumer protection and regulation

Law firms and conveyancers across the UK are grappling with how to leverage the potential of AI and how much to invest while adhering to their regulatory obligations. Handing over some steps in the conveyancing process to AI may save time and money, but this cannot come at the cost of regulatory compliance. As we stand today, we know that AI is fallible and makes mistakes.

As Alastair explains, while AI may solve problems for conveyancers, it may also be problematic, at least in the short term; “AI introduces risk because there’s an unknown and conveyancing is very heavily regulated. There’s an awful lot of burden on conveyancers. So, I think you have to assess your risks and rewards quite carefully. You know, the introduction of AI of course introduces a risk, in terms of AI getting things wrong. And there are horror stories out there about how AI has misinterpreted inputs and made things up”.

AI must add real value to conveyancers

In order to allow AI to perform conveyancing functions, it is important that doing so adds genuine value to conveyancers, buyers and sellers. The use of AI for AI’s sake is not enough. As Steadman, Sales Director at SearchFlow, explains, AI conveyancing process and facilitate the work of conveyancers; “AI should drive insight and to be a tool to give the conveyancer more power to focus them into the right place and for repetitive jobs to be automated, as opposed to replacing the conveyancer”.

Creating value-enhancing AI conveyancing tools and frameworks will “require a lot of collaboration and education across the board to dispel some of the myths about what the purpose of AI is and how it can be used effectively,” according to Rob.

One of the key ways that AI will add value is by taking over certain low-risk tasks that will free up conveyancers’ time for higher value and higher risk tasks, according to Alastair Waters; “I think AI will actually help significantly regulate capacity and allow conveyancers to focus on doing the jobs that they really need to do rather than the jobs that they’re expected to do…I think AI will allow for work to be more controlled so that conveyancers can manage their businesses better”.

Final words

There is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how AI will change the conveyancing profession, but human conveyancers must remain fully accountable for home buying and selling transactions. AI has the power to overcome many of the bugbears of the profession, which have added unnecessary work and hampered the ability of conveyancers to reduce completion times. In many ways, AI can be seen as a tool to help conveyancers provide even greater value and benefit to home buyers and sellers, passing on more menial tasks is a win. Ultimately, money talks, and the conveyancing sector will need to embrace AI to increase the bottom line; as Alastair Waters explains, “AI can play an important role in managing and helping a firm to be more profitable and actually regulate their workflow or flow of work, regulate their income and actually enhance their income by having that consistency across the business”.

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This article was submitted to be published by Searchflow as part of their advertising agreement with Today’s Conveyancer. The views expressed in this article are those of the submitter and not those of Today’s Conveyancer

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