If you’ve ever wondered about the secret to McDonalds’ success, it’s their French Fries. Customers know that wherever they are in the world, they always taste the same. The ability to scale a consistent service is vital for any business, and this is particularly true for conveyancing. Firms must expand to survive which means hiring more people, opening new offices and investing in technology. And this is where it typically goes wrong.
The acquisition short-cut myth
All small law firms reach a point where the owners must retire, which often involves offering their client base to another company looking to expand. However, these seemingly quick-wins might rapidly turn into nightmares. The technology they use could be out-of-date and different from the acquirer’s. This makes it a risky or at worst, fatal, approach for migrating this data to their systems.
Going paperless is key to growth
A more sustainable approach, requires smart thinking especially around consistency and requires the good use of technology. All service must be provided in the same way, using the same terminology and everyone should know exactly who is responsible for what.
With conveyancing, the challenge is the large numbers of documents and the transparency of progression of each case. Making documents and checklists electronic brings efficiencies for the lawyer, and can be shared with clients, agents and the other side. It also means, management have the ability to support lawyers on problematic cases as the information is available to them.
“Part-paperless” solutions do not work – as a paper file may not be available to everyone when they need it. Commitment is required to pay and train people to scan all incoming documents and upload them onto a case in a standard manner.
Sharing standardised approaches raises standards
Making sure that everyone is working in a safe and consistent manner is a major challenge. A brilliant lawyer is an asset to any business, but their expertise and efficiency must be replicated across to other aspiring lawyers. This is where technology comes into play as precedents and best practice techniques can be shared through reporting and centralised communication. For example, sharing enquiries raised by an experienced lawyer can reduce the number of superfluous questions that a less experienced one might ask.
Smart reporting to assist growth
Using technology for reporting purposes can be seen as negative. We have seen law firms use systems to report when someone has not moved their mouse for a period which illustrates how technology can be misused. Reporting should support individuals and management to help them decide what to focus on and avoid service issues. For example, if a manager can quickly see that a lawyer’s workload is increasing, they can offer assistance.
Technology in itself does not solve problems – but when used constructively and appropriately, it helps drive consistent service delivery so vital for a company’s growth.