The digital transformation of the legal sector will “bank both time and cost savings” at the expense of automating key solicitor roles, an industry review has found.
The finding forms part of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers’ (CLC) new paper, Conveyancing 2030: A Discussion Paper.
According to the report, automation will take over the bulk of administrative duties over the next decade, forcing solicitors to swap the focus of conveyancing services from research to advisory.
It is predicted that properties in the future will maintain “up-to-date logbooks with little human intervention” due to the rapid adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) technology. Smart meters, for example, can tell homeowners the expected costs of annual gas and electricity bills.
Accordingly, future technologies will “radically improve transparency for consumers about what they are buying and the progress of their transaction”.
Central electronic conveyancing databases, meanwhile, will be accessible by solicitors, estate agents, vendors and purchasers, and public bodies. While this will solve administrative hurdles, it may present others. Who will monitor and validate the data, for example, and who will be liable for misinformation?
Commenting on the report, Chair of the CLC, Dame Janet Paraskeva, said: “I think many lawyers will be heartened by the prediction that there will be a greater focus on advisory work as the market changes and that it can be used to create a point of differentiation.
“However, while we can predict certain shifts in the market with confidence – in particular the inevitable move to electronic conveyancing – how they play out over the next decade remains uncertain.”
The report adds: “As the role changes, conveyancers will need to invest in training and skills acquisition for themselves and their staff. Soft skills such as communication skills, listening skills, and empathy will become ever more important as the ability to build relationships becomes even more central.”
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