Conveyancing has long been seen as the domain of the solicitor alone. While the matter at hand can vary from a single residential property between two private individuals to a mass conveyance of various property types between public companies, at the centre of the process has always been one or more solicitors.
However, it is not a given that this work must be done solely by solicitors, as was indicated by the Legal Services Regulatory Authority’s upcoming report into the possibility of establishing a new conveyancer profession.
At Johnson Hana, we provide dedicated project managers, technologists, and legal consultants, and have therefore seen firsthand the benefits that these professionals working in concert can bring to a mass conveyancing effort.
The bulk of work isn’t actually legal advisory work
The bulk of the work involved in a mass conveyancing project is legal process, rather than legal advisory work.
When the number of conveyances grows, it quickly becomes clear that the complexity of a mass conveyancing project is greater than the sum of its parts. The list of parties involved encompasses legal advice, legal process work, financial institutions, engineers, building assessors and others.
With so many parties involved, most of the work is not diligent title checking. Instead the majority of the work becomes: following up on outstanding documents, chasing queries, and attempting to keep track of the status of each request.
Putting a highly qualified property solicitor in a project management role is a disservice to both the solicitor and the client. Therefore looking beyond the status quo can deliver real benefits.
When you look instead at resourcing this work with a range of skillsets, and place the right person in the right role, you begin to avail of efficiencies. These include avoiding paying advisory level fees for process work, and improving outputs and morale in allowing everyone to play to their strengths.
The importance of coordination
Appreciating that the solicitor remains the subject matter expert in the provision of conveyancing advice, a key priority of the project manager is to allow them to work efficiently, dedicating their time to completing their core work without complication or delay.
The project manager on such a project acts as the central contact for all others. They appreciate the legal complexity but are not bogged down by it. Instead, they remain free to focus on pro-actively coordinating all tasks, thinking one step ahead to make sure that any outside dependencies are delivered on time, that problems are investigated and resolved and that any delays are identified and quickly addressed.
Given the number of parties and interests which can be involved in such a project, the project manager’s role can pay dividends by ensuring that everyone is clear on what stage each property is at, who is currently working on what, being aware of everyone’s deadlines, and following up to ensure that a delay of days does not turn into weeks.
Relieved of this burden, the solicitor can rest assured that every file they open is complete and ready for their review. This means that the solicitor’s time (the most costly resource on the project) is preserved to progress cases in an efficient manner.
Keeping it all on track
Outside of the coordinating role, there are several other benefits a project management led approach can bring to such conveyancing projects.
Taking a data driven view allows for absolute transparency, knowing how many cases are resolved in a week, whether progress is slowing or accelerating and when the entire body of work should be completed.
This information can be used to target performance improvements to eke out maximum efficiencies in the process as well as ensuring service level agreements are met by all involved. In addition, you can receive a weekly snapshot of your current status including current cost positions.
The project management approach can be strengthened through technology.
For example, using matter management software which is customized and configured to your needs by an experienced technologist, can allow for real time information on progress alongside absolute clarity on issue status, ownership, and critical attributes.
This enables the ability to quickly perform ad hoc reporting enables a fast response to any unforeseen events.
Finally, the provision of a secure, easily accessible repository for all relevant documents provides a single source of truth for your project, allowing all involved to access the latest documentation at will.
Where document volumes justify it, AI based contract review tools can also be leveraged to reduce review effort.
In summary, we advocate for distributing the work in a mass conveyance to those best placed to do it.
We structure our solutions so that the legal consultants complete the conveyance itself, while the project managers keep the work coordinated and on track, and the technologists enable the team with cutting-edge, labour saving solutions. If you would like to discuss how we can support your upcoming projects with solution custom built to your requirements, your next step should be to contact us.