E-conveyancing doesn’t have to be time consuming or scary
29 May 2019
by Hameeda Anwar
A young lawyer’s commentary on the shift towards e-conveyancing
Electronic conveyancing (e-conveyancing) has been mandated by the NSW Government and will soon completely replace traditional paper-based processes involved in property transactions. The digital transformation is set to impact the way law firms and conveyancers operate. The changes simultaneously excite and distress practitioners as they navigate the technological advancements currently shaping the legal industry.
As a young lawyer, having had a handful of confusing experiences with the manual conveyancing process, the opportunity to settle property matters through a digital platform is comforting. There is a sense of familiarity with features, such as data automation and e-signature authorisation offered by established providers like InfoTrack, to complete property transactions. Where cyber security is concerned, I believe legal software providers are keeping up with industry standard data protection policies and will continue to invest in this area to meet client demands. Technology ultimately supports the legal profession and e-conveyancing should be embraced as a positive disruption to current practice.
The drive for efficiency resonates with seasoned commercial lawyers who have already experienced greater internal time-saving measures through electronic settlements. This is in comparison to former manual processes. Some experienced conveyancers err on the side of caution and suggest that changes will be adopted slowly, given the uncertainty associated with the correct investment into technology, which will meet the requirements of the mandate.
As I and other young lawyers, along with digital natives coming into the industry, move through the ranks, e-conveyancing and the shift towards digitising manual processes is a format that will be familiar to us. The digitalisation of these processes helps meet the increasing expectations and demands from clients in a 24/7 connected world. The most important part is developing relationships with your clients, simply by having that online presence and streamlining processes for speed, accuracy and trustworthiness.
The NSW mandate is necessary to keep up with technological changes, which provide greater accessibility, transparency and savings for all parties involved in the conveyancing process. E-conveyancing is expected to minimise the need to physically attend settlements while allowing parties to easily access proceeds for settlement and reduce human error. Interoperability between e-conveyancing platforms is also expected to lead to greater competition and cost-effective solutions for end users. Security concerns, however, are being left to the market to resolve based on benchmarked standards. I know I am interested to see how the industry takes to these mandated changes and what we can expect in the future.