Judge Spotlight: David Baskerville

Judge Spotlight: David Baskerville

Judging awards ceremonies can often be a thankless task. But without the support of the people who spend hours toiling away reviewing the submissions, the awards simply would not happen.

On behalf of Today’s Conveyancer and Headline Sponsor Dye & Durham, we are incredibly grateful to all our judging panel who we are showcasing through this short series of articles in the run up to The British Conveyancing Awards 2022.

If the 2021 ceremony was about recognising all those in the industry who have helped people move home during the most challenging year the conveyancing industry has perhaps ever seen, the focus for the 2022 ceremony is on where the industry is going.

Against a backdrop of a flatter market, increasing on and offline fraud risks, PII, the balance of flexible working and continued digitisation practitioners face new and evolving challenges.

So how do we set about judging an industry which is now looking ahead to what 2022 and beyond brings? It was a question we put to David Baskerville as they prepare to assess the submissions.

First of all, tell us who you are and what you do.

I’m David Baskerville, Consultant at Baskerville Drummond LLP. We help Law Firms understand and define their IT challenges, select and implement technology and act as Virtual IT Directors / Trusted Advisors for many of our clients.

Why did you choose to support The British Conveyancing Awards (again) in 2022?

I’m interested to see what has come out of one of the most challenging years conveyancers have ever faced! We thought last year was tricky but I would argue things have become even more challenging for a whole host of reasons and I’m keen to get a sense of how the industry is going to respond now that the pandemic does seem – finally – to be in our rear view mirror. I’d like to be able to evaluate and reward those who have achieved things against such an unprecedented backdrop.

What do you think the biggest challenges and opportunities are for conveyancers in 2022 and beyond?

The most immediate challenge is just getting into a steady state post-Covid – eliminating backlogs, getting teams back in and settled into their preferred way of working, filling any vacancies and building a bit of resilience against the property market rollercoaster, which will no doubt go into an upward drive with spring around the corner. The bigger, longer-term challenge – or opportunity, depending on your outlook – is, I’m sad to say, much as it’s always been: how to effectively leverage technology to transform their conveyancing operations. I know Covid has been disruptive but we’ve simply not seen the game-changing shift in processes or client service that has been promised for so long. I know there are a few honourable exceptions but the conveyancing sector should be much further along than it is.

In your day to day role, what have you seen from law firms that has stood out for you in terms of innovation or adaptation in the “new normal?”

The speed that firms have adopted new processes and technology which would have been discounted “out of hand” prior to the pandemic has been extremely impressive. Solutions such as client validation, onboarding which were often described as “not for us” have become mainstream. Firms are now actively looking for market changing solutions rather than just riding the “legal tech” wave which existed for the big boys prior to the pandemic.

Why do you think firms should the British Conveyancing Awards?

To prove me and my downbeat assessment of technological-driven improvement wrong! No, seriously, the recognition of achievement should be championed and celebrated. Here’s a chance for firms to make a name for themselves and to see the staff who made it possible getting their moment in the spotlight. We can all get caught up in the day to day without really appreciating how far we have come or things we have achieved. Recognition by your peers, both internally and in the wider market is hugely motivational for those who work so hard.

Which of this years categories stand out for you and why?

The “Supplier of the year” is always an interesting one as entrants have to prove a true working partnership with their law firm clients, and engage to deliver genuine business enhancing solutions. I love reading true world success stories of technologists working with lawyers. For similar reasons I look forward to “Technology Enabler of the year”.

What are you looking for in the submissions and what differentiates a winning entry from the rest?

At my time of life, it’s excitement! I want to see something that excites me, enthuses me, has me eager to read on to the end, rather than nipping off to put the kettle on. It doesn’t have to be a big idea either – something simple and clever, well articulated and properly evidenced, is quite enough as long it provokes that initial reaction of “Damn, I wish I’d thought of that”!

Thank you to David Baskerville for their support for The British Conveyancing Awards 2022.

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