Sunday, 7 May 2017

Conveyancers: Are you a Tortoise or Hare?

Conveyancing in recent years puts a premium on speed: the sooner, the faster, the better. You only have to look at most law tech companies in the conveyancing space to see claims of generating  ‘greater efficiency’ or claiming that their software ‘speeds up the process’.

I recently attended a managing partners seminar where one of the speakers all but said that if you wanted to be involved in volume conveyancing in any way you would only be profitable if you had systems in place to dramatically speed up the process and cope with bulk work. Pile it high, do it cheap and do it quick. How depressing.  

I agree with Malcom Gladwell, journalist and author, who during a recent interview at Wharton Business School said "In any kind of high-stakes job where the penalty for error is high, you can't afford to have hares,"

Insurers, lenders, regulators and law firms should fear the high output, lots-of-errors lawyer.  

My understanding from speaking to insurers and brokers is that most mistakes are not due to lack of legal knowledge but rather based on administrative matters or failing to follow a client’s interactions (CML Handbook instructions in particular). Such errors are often due to pressures of speed from not only the clients but often third parties such as agents or brokers.  I would even go one stage further and say that some of the most recent well publicised frauds might have been avoided if the lawyer concerned would have had the time to ‘join the dots’ or spot the various ‘indicators’ that existed.

I am not saying that lawyers should drag their heels on conveyancing transactions. Rather, I am suggesting that we redress the balance of speed and quality. If you have to compromise on one, in the long run you may be better off being a tortoise and getting it right.

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