An Insight Into Life At Keebles LLP During Covid-19

Adapting to the ‘new normal’ has been difficult and it has been a time where companies and individuals have acted quickly to ensure businesses can carry on as much as possible, even in these unprecedented times.

The property market has been hugely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and it has had a knock-on effect on the legal side of the operations.

The Residential Conveyancing team at UK top 200 law firm Keebles LLP has shown extreme resilience during this period and the firm’s Head of Residential Bonita Wolfenden and Business Development Officer Mike Ramsden have shared their ‘lockdown working’ experiences with Sheryl Hodgson from Today’s Conveyancer.

Bonita says:

“When the country went into lockdown in March, like many firms, we had to adapt quickly. At Keebles we have always been well-equipped to work remotely so the transition to home working was straight forward and it meant we were able to carry on servicing our clients as usual.

“When the government announced the changes to the housing market and put a temporary stop to house moves, we made some changes to our operations – however, we always remained positive and we knew the market would bounce back once we were given the green light to progress again.

“The property market re-opened in May which meant we were able to progress work as normal and able to pretty much go back to business as usual.

“Our team reacted in an agile way and were able to quickly respond to the change in work demand. Many members of our team are continuing to work from home, which in turn helps keep the number of people in the office low.”

Keebles has ensured that their offices, which are based in Sheffield, Leeds and Doncaster, are all safe for their staff to return to.

Bonita added:

“Our team has completely embraced working from home during this period and they’ve done an excellent job adapting to the new way of working.

“For those team members who are now back in the office we have ensured the offices are Covid-secure to ensure not only our safety, but the safety of our clients and visitors.”

Mike Ramsden told us about the steps the firm has taken to ensure that Keebles’ colleagues who have returned to the office feel safe.

“We have PPE available, glass screens between every desk and colleagues who share desk space sit diagonally across from one another to ensure the social distancing measures are adhered to.

“We also have several hand sanitising units dotted around the office and have implemented one-way systems.

“Our clients are now used to us communicating with them remotely, so it’s very rare that they venture into the office. This obviously helps us to minimise the risk to our team, but where they need face-to-face meetings these will be behind glass screens.”

Once lockdown in the UK was announced on 23 March, firms spent time prioritising getting their teams set up to work from home, but the workload and cases that were being worked on, still needed to be progressed.

Mike and Bonita said:

“During the early stages of lockdown the team identified which cases could progress and those which could not were put on hold. This enabled the team to prioritise, whilst keeping an eye on those that had been paused.

“As the social distancing and further Governmental guidelines were released, these cases were naturally picked back up and continued.

“As always, our team ensured that we managed client expectations and dealt with enquiries quickly. What lockdown has reinforced with us here at Keebles is our commitment to working together as a team and our excellent ability to work effectively with other firms.

“Whilst many organisations understandably shut their doors, we found businesses in Sheffield really rallied together to get the best possible outcome for all the clients involved.”

As we look to the future, there are a lot of questions facing the property industry. The Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) cut is one of the measures introduced to help encourage people onto the property market.

Mike and Bonita explained what the future might look like for Keebles’ Residential team:

“With regards to the SDLT cut we predict that there will be a surge similar to the one we saw in 2016 where more people looked to move and take advantage of the saving as the scheme’s deadline approached.

“Moving forward, we are ensuring that all of our teams are working together to make all processes as efficient and as streamlined as possible.

“One of the things we have launched in the last few weeks is our brand-new conveyancing smartphone app which enables our clients and their agents to be actively involved in their transaction from the onboarding stage to completion.”

Bonita and Mike shared their appreciation of the whole of their team and their commitment, dedication, and care in ensuring clients were provided with the best possible service.

They added:

“During what has been a tough time for everyone, our clients have shown extreme loyalty to us and have consistently shown their support and satisfaction with all of our work.

“As always, our team has gone above and beyond for our clients. It is a testament to each and every one of them that we have secured such positive client satisfaction during this strange time.”

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