Judge Spotlight: Lorraine Richardson, MD Adapt Law Limited

Judging awards ceremonies can often be a thankless task. But without the support of the people who spend hours toiling away reviewing the submissions, the awards simply would not happen.

On behalf of Today’s Conveyancer and Headline Sponsor Dye & Durham, we are incredibly grateful to all our judging panel who we are showcasing through this short series of articles in the run up to The British Conveyancing Awards 2022.

If the 2021 ceremony was about recognising all those in the industry who have helped people move home during the most challenging year the conveyancing industry has perhaps ever seen, the focus for the 2022 ceremony is on where the industry is going.

Against a backdrop of a flatter market, increasing on and offline fraud risks, PII, the balance of flexible working and continued digitisation practitioners face new and evolving challenges.

So how do we set about judging an industry which is now looking ahead to what 2022 and beyond brings? It was a question we put to Lorraine Richardson as they prepare to assess the submissions.

First of all, tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Lorraine Richardson, I am a property solicitor and I now run my own training company, Adapt Law Limited. I was in practice for many years doing conveyancing – I still do this on a locum basis but combine it with training conveyancers and offering CPD sessions and webinars, as well as lots of interesting work for professional bodies, such as the Law Society and universities.

Why did you choose to support The British Conveyancing Awards (again) in 2022?

Those working in the conveyancing sector have faced unprecedented challenges in the past two years and I think that the British Conveyancing Awards last year was a great way to recognise the efforts of many of the unsung heroes at the coal face. So being asked to support the Awards again in 2022 was a no brainer!

What do you think the biggest challenges and opportunities are for conveyancers in 2022 and beyond?

The challenges will be what happens later in the year as household finances begin to bite and the effect that this might have on the conveyancing market. Firms are no doubt still dealing with the hangover from the SDLT “holiday” – but they must also be looking ahead. The opportunities for conveyancers themselves are interesting. Many have decided to leave the profession altogether which will create openings for those wanting to move jobs. The challenge for employers will be to retain their staff.

In your day-to-day role, what have you seen from law firms that has stood out for you in terms of innovation or adaptation in the “new normal?”

The rate with which firms have had to adapt to remote working is an obvious one. However, firms still have some way to go to ensure that they are communicating effectively with clients, especially at busy times.

Why do you think firms should enter the British Conveyancing Awards?

That’s easy – firms should be entering to demonstrate their appreciation and support for their staff. Awards should not just be about a win that can be promoted on a firm’s website. Whilst this is undoubtedly important for a firm and their staff overall, I do think that the people within the firms should be the focus.

Which of this year’s categories stand out for you and why?

There are some brilliant categories – but for me it is all about the people this year – so the categories that stand out for me are:  Customer Service Champion and Outstanding Employee Experience.  Without good staff, a firm cannot thrive.

What are you looking for in the submissions and what differentiates a winning entry from the rest?

Submissions that specifically answer and address the brief will win it for me.  I do not necessarily want to wade through lots of stats and data.  I need context and the reasons why the firm thinks that they have met the brief.  A very focussed submission will probably be shorter and, crucially, will demonstrate that the firm has thought carefully about the award category and what evidence they have to support their submission.

I wish all entrants good luck!

Thank you to Lorraine Richardson for their support for The British Conveyancing Awards 2022.

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