How Can Technology Change The Way We Work?
With most of the world at a standstill and many industries unable to continue at all, the opposite can be said for those working in the property sector. From estate agents to mortgage brokers and of course, solicitors, it’s been a record year for house sales with prices at an all-time high.
At Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors, 2020 was our busiest year on record for conveyancing and even with the stamp duty deadline looming, it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. With active cases across England and Wales and a flurry of new instructions daily, our conveyancing team have had to adapt while working from home but have done so incredibly well.
Today, Conveyancer Jenny Randell shares her thoughts on what it’s like to be part of our award-winning conveyancing team and how technology has supported her in her role, particularly during COVID-19.
“When I started my first job many moons ago as a 16-year-old straight out of school, the company I worked in didn’t even own a computer – they had one word processor and a manual typewriter (with correction ribbon and Tipp-ex – the works!). The amount of paper in the office was staggering but there was simply no other way around it.
“I left that job after seven years and moved on to two other jobs within solicitors’ firms, both of which used a case management system, but it was mostly for storage of letters, keeping a digital record of clients and other such administerial elements. The systems were nothing more than glorified letter writing tools. After those two roles I went back to my original job (the one I took as a school leaver) to become a fully-fledged conveyancer. I had been studying for my Licensed Conveyancer qualification in the evenings in Manchester whilst still working a full-time job with a 4-year-old child and (during the course of the studies) having another baby too. It was a lot to juggle.
“I was pleasantly surprised to note that my previous firm had invested into a case management system - I had some brief training there on how to use it and had started working on updating the standard letters and other similar tasks.
“When I took the job here at Bell Lamb & Joynson in July 2020, I was delighted to find out they also used the same case management system and thought I’d be able to hit the ground running. But I had no idea of the capabilities that the system had to offer. The amount of time and money the firm have invested into ensuring their technology is as up to date as possible is absolutely mind blowing from someone who has spent years working in the legal sector. I knew how to navigate my way around the system, but there are so many procedures that are now automated which previously would have taken me so much administrative time to sort.
“The transition from paper files to going completely paperless was the most challenging thing for me to get my head around to begin with. There was something comforting about having those paper files and being able to see the signed documents from your clients – and I guess that’s something that’s instilled into solicitors from a traditional point of view. However, Bell Lamb & Joynson are creating a more efficient workplace culture that not only allows us to make the most of our resources but also enables us to manage our workloads and enjoy a better work/life balance. Not only that, but this paperless way of working means that we’re doing our part when it comes to sustainability.
"These systems have meant I’ve been able to work just as efficiently from home as I can in the office. I have had massive support from my assistant Lawrence during the process. He gives me lessons where needed on the trickier aspects of the technology and I’m learning every day.
“It has been invaluable to me being able to work from home. I have 4 children, and with schools and nurseries being closed at various stages during the whole pandemic it has meant that I’ve been able to continue to work (albeit sometimes with a crying toddler in the background) and the clients haven’t suffered as a result. I don’t have to make trips into the office to collect or return files, as all of the information is scanned to the system and available for me to see from either location.
“Juggling family life and work life has been difficult at times, but management at the firm have just been amazing. I was so scared and worried about joining a new firm after such a long time, but now I feel like I’ve been here forever. It genuinely feels like a big family.”