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“Phew – thank goodness all that SDLT nonsense is over”

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Phew – thank goodness all that SDLT nonsense is over.   At least for now.

Those companies who got one of their student mates to hack together a few web pages and call it an app to revolutionise the house buying and selling process can go back to their lifestyle coaching businesses, or whatever they were doing before.

From my perspective as the owner of a conveyancing business, frankly, the last few months have been a little tricky. 

Having spent time on social media (more LinkedIn than TikTok ) I’ve seen a rise in opinions about how much work law firms should, or should not, have taken on.  There have been several occasions where I’ve definitely considered grabbing a pitchfork to apply it to those suggesting we are “making hay while the sun is shining”.  We massively restricted our work from December and still, we were caught out by the intensity of communications, rather than the volume of cases.

The increased pressure from working to such a hard deadline certainly brought out the best and worst people.

On the one hand, we’ve seen amazing co-operation and consideration shown by lawyers to one another.  The concept of serving a notice to complete has usually been thrown out the window.  Even the fear of simultaneous exchange and completion when in a chain has been swept away with co-operation being the watchword.

But it’s not all good news. 

There have been a few occasions where I have had to explain to clients that abuse is not acceptable.  We’ve also seen the rise of the “expert agent” – those who have not worked with us before, so assume that we fit a particular mould.  They make comments such as; “I don’t understand why you haven’t done that leasehold report – they take two hours”, or “you’ve chosen not to reply to those [incomplete] enquiries”.   That rarely helps anyone.

As I look back over the past six months, despite what technology provider’s press releases might say, from my experience of interviewing lawyers from other firms, this global pandemic has had little impact on the way law firms work.  Working from home continues to be a major problem for most, along with very high caseloads and old-fashioned working practices.

It’s a good job that the July Deadline is behind us, and while we wait for her much less appealing step-sister, the “September Deadline” to make an appearance, we can all take a deep breath and relax safe in the knowledge that law firms can go back to their old ways.

Not ideal, but hey, what is about this whole process?