Judge Spotlight: Sarah Keegan

Judge Spotlight: Sarah Keegan

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 Sarah Keegan as they prepare to assess the submissions.

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

My name Sarah Keegan, and I am a co-founder of The CS Partnership. I qualified as a Solicitor in 1996 and have over 20 years’ experience as a property lawyer. I ran one of the biggest residential property departments in the country and co-founded The CS Partnership in 2012 to help law firms change the way that they deliver their services. We help firms to look at their technology, and to change and adapt what they need to (from a software/systems and products perspective), in order to be using the best technology available to them. Alongside that, we train and coach the people using that technology (because as great as technology is, it is only as good as the people using it!).

We also sell our process maps and workflows, and documents. The bit I love concentrating on the most is risk and compliance – in particular, finding ways to ensure that on every transaction the right technology and procedures (combined with the human habits and behaviours) keep our client firms compliant and safe.

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

I loved that Today’s Conveyancer decided to support the profession in setting up the British Conveyancing Awards last year – let’s face it, it was the worst year conveyancers had experienced, and although it may have felt counter intuitive, some action to support your online kindness campaign was very welcome (I am a huge believer that actions speak louder than words!). The categories that you’ve picked this year delighted me (and had obviously been chosen with a great deal of care) – because they open the awards up for firms/teams and individuals who have never applied for an award previously – and I love that. I think they differentiate the Awards.

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

I think it’s going to be communication – with their own clients, third party providers, agents, and with the public generally, to educate them about exactly what it is we do as conveyancers. I look around at the moment and wonder how we got to this point where we have clients and third parties alike attacking us from the outside – and placing the blame on the legals constantly.

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?”

Firms are working hard to eliminate their outdated methods of delivering their services. They are positive about the changes, keen to implement them, and very focused on the journeys that their clients and staff are experiencing.

Why do you think firms should enter the British Conveyancing Awards?

I feel there are so many individuals and teams “hiding their light”, and I would love them all to enter! But as well as that – I genuinely feel that if the profession comes together publicly more and more, we will be able to find solutions to the communication issue that I referred to above.

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

With my background as a Residential Mixed Use Development lawyer – it has to be “New Build Conveyancing Team of the Year”. Sorry – I am always going to be biased towards New Build!

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

A feeling that I have genuinely seen an insight into the person/team/firm.

Thank you to Sarah Keegan for their support for The British Conveyancing Awards 2022.

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