Talking Automation with Your Conveyancer
In insight / By Charlotte Tobulevicius / 19 July 2019
It is estimated by Deloitte that 100,000 legal roles will be automated by 2036 which means it should really be something that’s on your radar. We spoke to Steven Lilly, IT Training/Compliance Director, at Your Conveyancer about how they are using technology and taking advantage of automation to enhance the business.
Your Conveyancer is Scotland’s only provider of volume conveyancing services dedicated solely to financial and property services.
The company tries to use technology as much as possible to improve business process efficiencies, speed up transaction workflows and eliminate human error. In terms of automation, the business uses it predominantly to automate labour intensive and repetitive tasks that can often create bottle necks. This is vital to Your Conveyancer’s business model, especially as they do such high volumes of these tasks.
What types of automation has Your Conveyancer adopted?
“We have already invested into a number of different types of automation, including both partial and full automation processes; with partial requiring user input to make choices and check data but eliminating data entry, human error and repetitive tasks.
“Scanning is a manual task that has always taken up a lot of time in law firms, but we’ve streamlined this process to make it more efficient. Documents are still manually scanned and indexed by a human, but the process of transferring the file from the local PC to the remotely hosted file in the case management system is fully automated. This process then automatically schedules the following on task for certain items that have arrived and been scanned in; whether this be checking and entering details from the document, ordering a property search or obtaining a redemption figure form the lender etc.
“Digitising our questionnaire has also been a big change for us, as this was originally paper-based and could take anywhere from a week to 14 days to get information back from the borrower. However, since introducing an intelligent web-based form, we have reduced this time down significantly. In fact, the very first time we launched it, the questionnaire was filled in and back with us within a couple of hours of us sending the client the welcome pack!”
Steven also mentioned the following processes which have now been automated across the business:
- Automated receipt and processing of new instructions for case creation, as well as sending off introductory documentation, questionnaires and search requests.
- Automated receipt of documentation e.g. questionnaires, loan offers, title checks, valuation reports and customer uploads.
- Automated updates sent to customers, introducers and 3rd parties by through email, SMS, a web portal or web service.
- Automated Business Information reporting which is done overnight and ready for the morning.
According to LPM’s Legal IT landscapes 2019 report, automation in SME firms isn’t really taking off, though the desire to do so is certainly there. Do you have any views on why firms might find it difficult to adopt automation?
“Resistance to change, lack of thinking outside the box and in some areas, a lack of technology knowledge. It’s all good analyzing your business process to find bottle necks, ineffective processes or inefficient ways of working, but it’s important to think outside the box to find the solution. Technical solutions are not always required, but because we have a great technical skills base within the firm, we always try to see how we can improve our failing processes using our knowledge in this area.
“Implementing automation takes time and firms need to find the resource to keep supporting what they currently have, whilst working towards automation. What if scenarios should be considered throughout the journey and close monitoring after automation is very important for ensuring there are no missed issues.”
How did you make automation a part of your business strategy?
“Volume business needs automation and our Chief Executive is fully on board with our IT strategy which is great because this ensures that department Heads and Users know how to raise issues with IT that could/should be automated. This helps us to identify under-performing processes and bottlenecks, as well as aggregate a marginal gains philosophy.
“Automation has become a key part of our strategy, allowing us to easily scale the business and eliminate human error which is a big area for concern when faced with the high volumes we have. Being able to mitigate against human error which could lead to an information security breach is vital to our business, and with automation, we are able to use a data feed to save a document to the correct file using unique references.”
Which support or business service area do you think could benefit the most from more automation?
“For us, constant review across all departments is essential because our business process is always under review, looking for efficiencies and scope for automation. We use the ‘plan-do-check-act’ approach, whereby once we stop a review, we then review again to see where we can make further improvements or find newly available solutions.”
In your experience, do particular types of firms or areas of law automate more effectively than others?
“Every volume firm will have automation in their business strategy, but every firm can benefit from it – even smaller ones. If it’s possible to use automated processes to save a document/email to a file, they why not do it and save your employee doing it, whilst eliminating the risk for human error? In law, SLAs must be met with commercial clients and automation assists us greatly in this.”
How has automation benefitted your clients?
“Our business has more than one type of client; from lenders and introducers to financial advisors and customer/borrowers - as well as our users, who we also consider as clients. Automation has benefitted our customers by allowing our users to spend less time on mundane admin tasks, which are now completed automatically on a consistent basis, thus giving them more time to spend with clients or work through cases. Keeping customers informed at all times is vital and thanks to automation, our clients can receive regular updates on their case as and when they happen.”
What advice would you give to a firm looking to implement automation?
“The best advice I can give would be to partner with a data centre. All of our critical data is outsourced to our third-party managed service provider, Nasstar, giving us complete peace of mind. However, we do not outsource our whole IT function because we have our own 1st line IT team here, but it’s important to have our partner on hand to support us when we need it.”
Automation is something that law firms need to get on board with if they want to keep up with technology and gain a competitive advantage. Contact us today to find out how we can support you on your journey to automation.