How is automation affecting the conveyancing industry?

Automation is becoming a part of everyday life and consumers are increasingly relying on online tools and systems to carry out their obligations. This includes a trend towards using artificial intelligence systems such as Amazon Echo devices, supermarket self-checkouts and other online tools and systems rather than the traditional telephone calls and face-to-face communications that used to be the norm.

How Automation Is Changing The Face Of Conveyancing

Conveyancing is no different and with the rise in online conveyancing, firms such as Sam Conveyancing can enable their clients to submit information electronically to their chosen surveyor and track the progress of their property sale or purchase through an online portal at any time of the day or night to suit them. Many online conveyancing firms have invested heavily in their digital platforms to ensure that customers can easily access a user-friendly and interactive dashboard, contact their conveyancer and upload information and documentation from home at a time to suit them.

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These online tools have reduced the reliance on the postal service by enabling the use of digital signatures on contract documentation. As a result, home buyers no longer need to choose a local firm to deliver their conveyancing needs, allowing them to shop around for the best conveyancing solicitors quotes and find firms capable of completing the process in the shortest possible timescales.

Impact Of Automation On High Street Firms

This move towards increasing levels of automation has resulted in fewer high street solicitors taking on conveyancing contracts, and those that do are often choosing to delegate them to junior staff and paralegals. They may also be increasing their prices for this work, noting that it can be time-consuming to complete all necessary checks and ensure that the work completed by junior staff has been delivered to satisfactory levels.

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Many high street solicitor firms have yet to develop or implement an IT system capable of secure online access by their clients, meaning that they still require in-person visits for signatures or posted contracts and other legal documentation before they can progress a sale or purchase. One of the factors delaying this implementation is the lack of time available to train staff on how to operate these new systems, as solicitors are already working at capacity, even before taking on additional conveyancing contracts.

A recent article by Today’s Conveyancer notes that many solicitors are being left behind in the race for digital transformation as banks and other financial institutions embrace online technologies in order to allow customer access to their information 24/7, reducing their reliance on high street facilities and implementing branch closures as a cost saving exercise.

What Does The Future Hold For Conveyancing Solicitors

Whilst no one is suggesting that the real time tracking and monitoring tools offered by online conveyancing firms will sway the population entirely away from high street solicitors, it is clear that those companies that adapt and move with the times are likely to see an increase in uptake of their conveyancing services whilst those that continue to rely entirely on old fashioned methods of communication will be left behind as the modern consumer becomes more demanding, requiring instant access to their data, 24/7 updates and the ability to get a higher quality of service at a lower price.

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