Picture this. It’s just before Christmas. A client is anxious to settle their several hundred thousand dollar property to realise their investment. Your legal staff have already spent 40 minutes on the phone booking settlement. They’re now jostling shoulder to shoulder in a crowded, noise-filled settlement room, calling out to find the agent acting for the purchaser.
Lawyers of the future are Mac-savvy
“It’s atrocious,” says Christopher Lane, General Manager of ThinkConveyancing.com.au (a recent entrant to the conveyancing business and now with a national presence) in a frank and open interview about why he found it compelling to complete the first online settlement on Mac computers. Chris explains how his firm recently navigated some initial online teething problems to make tech history. He also foreshadows that Mac practitioners’ love of new technology puts them in the box seat to better navigate change.
Why are people still paying for a rushed clearance to get quicker access to their funds?
Chris adds: “If PEXA can help to avoid the dreaded settlement room then that’s a breakthrough for many law firms. At the busiest times there can be up to 150 people grappling to find a space on the floor while settling clients’ properties ranging from $500,000 to $200 million. And why are people still paying for a rushed clearance these days when they just want quick access to their money?
Clients are stressed and the banks are overwhelmed by transaction volumes
“Sometimes we can’t even get on the floor or book a settlement slot in the days leading up to Christmas – one of the busiest times in the conveyancing calendar. Clients are stressed and the banks are overwhelmed by transaction volumes. That idea of walking into a room and shouting to be heard is ridiculous. Junior practitioners new to the business can’t believe we’re still running around clamouring for space in settlement rooms.
There were a few teething problems completing our first Mac transaction
“In our first PEXA transaction we acted for a mum and dad investor. We worked with PEXA passing on feedback to prevent the little things that we anticipated might go wrong. There were a few teething problems completing the first ever PEXA transaction on MAC computers as the e-signatures had to be tested. The other party was ready to retreat to paper half way through the transaction but one of my fantastic Lawyers Evelyn Wong, spoke with the other side on the phone, reassured them that we were on track and arranged for a PEXA Direct Specialist to step them through the process. Without her help and commitment, this transact would not have gone ahead.
Our PEXA Direct Specialist foreshadowed our concerns – it was real-time trouble shooting
“Nichola Baker, our PEXA Direct Specialist, was great. She was able to foreshadow our concerns before we voiced them – it was real-time trouble shooting. A smooth transaction saw ANZ make the seller’s funds available in 23 minutes. In the paper world the seller would typically wait about 3 days to receive cleared funds subject to bank clearance.
We’ve been waiting for PEXA to get traction
“There’s high acceptance in our team that change is inevitable. We love property and all we want to do is make it work for our clients. We’ve been waiting for PEXA to get traction and that included the recent enhancement that means that the PEXA platform now supports Mac computers. With PEXA there’s a focus on everyone working to achieve one outcome. I’ve been in a change environment before as a CEO and I know that getting multiple parties to align takes time. We’ll eventually get there. Resistance is futile.
Young lawyers are turning to Mac technology and will be early online adopters
“Whilst our commitment to PEXA hasn’t been without a rocky first start when we were first told that PEXA didn’t support MAC’s, Think was committed to moving ahead with a MAC based environment due to demand from junior practitioners. I’ve spent a bit of time in university lecture halls and I can tell you that it’s a sea of students using Macs. It’s a case of ‘spot the PC’ – if you can find one.
As keen technologists we were excited to partner with PEXA in this exciting season of change
“PEXA’s recent decision to deliver the MAC solution is a reflection of its commitment to serve the emerging demand in the conveyancing market and to keep pace with technology that is leading innovation in the industry. At ThinkConveyancing.com.au, as keen technologists we were excited to partner with PEXA in this exciting season of change and to demonstrate the efficacy of combining the technology initiated by PEXA and user demand from young lawyers in making history with the first ever MAC based PEXA settlement nationally.
“As a point of difference, ease of use by customers is paramount and the strong alignment between the PEXA deliverables and our customer-centric model seem like natural alignment.
Digital transactions aid flexible work practices for innovative firms
“There are other benefits that new technologies bring that are integral to how legal firms work these days too. PEXA represents a consistent way of working that can be applied across our national practice. Paper files don’t translate well for people working remotely who rely on electronic exchange of information.
Young people are tech-savvy. It’s a skill that they bring to the workplace so let’s capitalise on it
“About 80 per cent of our people are women who require family flexible working hours to collect children from school. We’ve struck the right balance where we can service clients while meeting our own people’s personal commitments. That’s why we have a high satisfaction rate among our team. Think Conveyancing spends a lot of time and money on training. We’re investing in our people and wanting them to commit for years in a partnership between the employee and employer. We have young lawyers and we’re a burgeoning place. Young people are tech-savvy. It’s a skill that they bring to the workplace so let’s capitalise on it.”
L to R: Evelyn Wong, Lisa Lane and Chris Lane (and top photo, Adrian Ng)
Read more at Think Conveyancing.