We have already discussed one of the biggest talking points of 2019 (not just for conveyancers but for most businesses) in Brexit. However, as with all businesses, it is important to keep up with the times and roll with any other changes that may affect the way conveyancers work. Below, we discuss some of the changes the legal industry will see in 2019.
Increase in e-conveyancing
It is no secret that digital is having a disruptive effect on many industries and the property and legal industries are no different. You are likely no stranger to using an online property listing website to view the homes on the market in the various area and you are likely to of, at least heard of, online estate agents such as Purple Bricks. Legal services have often been slightly lagging behind in embracing technology, however, it is becoming a much more commonplace as law firms try to make lives easier for their clients and differentiate themselves from the slower moving competition.
Digital Street is a project run by the Land Registry focussing on the conveyancing and land registration process. The project has been running for a couple of years but in 2019 it wants to complete the first, fully digital transfer of a property. Blockchain and distributed ledger technology is also being explored as part of the process’ digitisation.
A lot of conveyancing firms have already implemented technology into their process by introducing online form and document completion. Apps are also likely to be the next logical step in improving client engagement using the digital delivery of legal services.
Increased Price Transparency
The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) introduced new rules at the end of 2018 which means that solicitor firms who are regulated by the SRA must publish information on the prices they charge for their legal services.
As well as the costs the firms must also provide their clients with an average timescale for the type of work they have been instructed on to be complete. There are also regulations regarding the availability of the qualifications of staff members which should be accessible for inspection.
Increased Security & Fraud Protection
One of the issues with digitisation is the possibility of identity fraud and other security risks. The vast majority of law firms will be acutely aware of their responsibilities when it comes to client data – particularly since the GDPR update. Firms will also be paying closer attention to expanding their use of digital signatures on legal paperwork. Required signatories will have to have their identity verified on the gov.uk verification system.
The SRA is also proposing a digital badge as a way of clients knowing which firms they regulate.
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