Spotlight: Judging Panel for the British Conveyancing Awards

In a series of Supporter in Focus pieces, we are thrilled to introduce our Judges of The British Conveyancing Awards 2021.

Alongside headline sponsor, Lawyer Checker, we look forward to recognising individuals, teams and companies who have gone above and beyond to support buyers and sellers to move home during the most challenging year the conveyancing industry has perhaps ever seen.

Entries are still open for you to submit your nominations.

The awards couldn’t take place without the hard task of judging and shortlisting the entries. It’s not a task many would take on, but we are extremely grateful to those that have. Over the next week we will find out a little more about our judging panel.

Today our spotlight is shining on David Baskerville and Simon Brown.

We’re delighted to have David Baskerville with us for The British Conveyancing Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do.

I’m David Baskerville, Consultant at Baskerville Drummond. We help Law Firms understand and define their IT challenges, select and implement technology and act as Virtual IT Directors / trusted Advisors for many of our clients.

What initially sparked your interest in the sector?

To be honest, initially it was the prospect of a secure, local job. I was working for a Internet company when the “dotcom” bubble burst and the firm was looking to make 50-60% redundancies. I jumped quickly to become Development Manager at Thompsons Solicitors the massive PI firm. Whilst it was initially an accidental quirk of fate I have retained my interest due to the constant evolution and challenge it brings.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the conveyancing sector?

Client service is the key to any private client work. Often busy conveyancing departments only provide updates when chased by their clients. Try to be on the front foot in looking after clients needs, use systems to ensure clients are provided updates before they feel the need to ask – even if there is nothing particular to say. Ask the client how and how often they want to hear from you – not what you think they need.

What improvements do you think could be made to the conveyancing sector?

To many firms talk about technology helping them but so few actually enact it. In most regional Law firms conveyancing remains a key service but many do it in in an inefficient way. It is important to note that Even though most regional firms do not want to be a seen as a high volume, low service provider they could benefit massively from standardisation of basic process which would enable lawyers to provide enhanced client service.

As a Judge of the awards, what will you be looking for to identify that winning entry?

Each category will have its own specialisms which will obviously be key but across the board I’ll be looking for a freshness of approach, and the ability to show “evidence” of walking the walk as well as talking the talk.

How important do you think it is to recognise achievement in the sector?

I think recognising achievement is key in all sectors. We can all get caught up in the day to day without really appreciating how far we have come or things we have achieved. Recognition by your peers, both internally and in the wider market is hugely motivational for those who work so hard.

What are the most prominent challenges the industry is facing at the moment?

If there will be a slump in the market after the stamp duty holiday ends at the end of June and how will teams cope with the ending of the furlough scheme.

What innovations have you seen in the sector over the past 18 months

The rapid adoption of technology to see firms through COVID. Most of these changes however, are relating to how people access work rather than how people do the work or interact with clients.

We can hope the next stage of adoption will be for firms to truly change the way they work using technology to improve profitability and client service.

We’re delighted to have Simon Brown with us for The British Conveyancing Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do.

ESTAS is a customer review and awards platform for property professionals (Conveyancers, agents and brokers). Customer reviews (submitted at the end of the home moving process) on our platform power the annual ESTAS Awards which highlight exceptional service delivered by property firms.

What initially sparked your interest in the sector?

My wife Sarah and I started The ESTAS Customer Service Awards 17 years ago when Sarah worked in the agent sector. We realised that conveyancers and agents were not judged fairly by the public so we wanted to design a platform where consumers could leave genuine reviews and give firms a chance to be recognised for their hard work.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the conveyancing sector?

Never forget the enormity of the property transaction for the client. It’s one of the most stressful experiences they will experience in their lives therefore communication is key!

What improvements do you think could be made to the conveyancing sector?

Digitalisation is the biggest thing that needs to be adopted by firms. The next generation of home movers expect and will demand it.

As a Judge of the awards, what will you be looking for to identify that winning entry?

For me it’s all about service. Going that extra mile for a client is key. It’s not just about getting rave reviews and winning new business, it’s about having empathy with the client and showing you care.

How important do you think it is to recognise achievement in the sector?

Massively! This pandemic has illustrated how important the property sector is to the economy as a whole. Making sure those transactions reach completion is crucial to economic growth for the whole country.

What are the most prominent challenges the industry is facing at the moment?

The whole buying/selling process has to speed up and conveyancers and agents have to ‘Work Together Better’ which is the theme of our ESTAS Forum in October.

What innovations have you seen in the sector over the past 18 months?

Not enough if I’m honest. As I said before the sector needs to embrace new technologies to meet customer expectations.

Thank you to David and Simon for their support for The British Conveyancing Awards 2021.

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