Conveyancers are constantly encouraged these days to get with modern technology and social media: to hear some “experts” talk, a firm that does not have an online updating service so that its clients can check on progress, or that does not have a high profile on Twitter, is doomed to failure.
Not true, I think: the recent Peppermint survey indicates that so-called old-fashioned values and approaches are still appreciated by clients: aspects such as getting the job done and keeping the client informed are far more important than the means of delivery. Indeed, I reckon that client would prefer to be kept informed of progress by means of emails, texts and phone calls from their lawyers, rather than having to log onto a website, enter a password and check up on the current position for themselves. I think it is called “being proactive” – telling the clients what is going on, rather than expecting them to find out for themselves.
Certainly, we at Nelsons try hard to update clients before they have to ask: if they have to ask, we are not providing the excellent service we want to provide.
So, I don’t think it is important to clients that their lawyers should be at the cutting (bleeding?) edge of technology or social media. It is much more important that they act professionally – with covers both being efficient and providing a good service, including keeping clients informed.
However, it does grieve me to find so many lawyers are not adhering to “old-fashioned standards” but are simply out of date: this prompted by a letter from lawyers acting for a seller client, telling me that they will adopt the National Conveyancing Protocol “except that you should carry out your own searches” – it is many years since the Protocol, in a misguided attempt (repeated by the Home Information Packs fiasco) suggested sellers should supply pre-contract search results with the draft contract papers. That suggestion was so uniformly ignored that the Protocol was soon updated to remove it; that was years ago, but it seems some lawyers – and these today are by no means alone have not caught up yet – astonishing!