If you were to ask the Head of Conveyancing at almost any legal practice what is their biggest challenge following the recent boom in transactions — the recruitment of high quality staff would be top of the list for most. Swathes of experienced staff lost during the downturn at the start of the decade have moved on to other areas and finding quality replacements is a real challenge.
That’s why Search Acumen, an innovative new search company set up by experienced old hands, is making full use of the available cyber technology to bring about real improvements in the search market and help alleviate the problems caused by a shortage of staff. Three of the original founders of Searchflow have set the new company up to deliver innovative solutions that will remove some of the time consuming manual tasks and increase the transactions per head of existing conveyancers.
With further announcements of new services to come later in the year the Search Acumen team are making an early show of their hand with an industry first, Bot-Con* a virtual conveyancer that is capable of voice activated search ordering.
Busy conveyancers will no longer need to waste time logging on to a website to order their searches. Bot-Con will take their place and speak their order in seconds — by simply providing a property address and their required searches. Results sent back via Bot-Con can either be downloaded or played back verbally.
Andrew Lloyd, Director, is bullish about the development work underway. “The last real innovation in this market was when we set up our old business 12 years ago. Since then other firms have played catch up but no one has taken the industry forward. Search Acumen is different and we will be pushing boundaries. Search provision needs to be more intelligent — our focus is on delivering solutions that take conveyancing to infinity and beyond”
Andy Sommerville, Director of Search Acumen said “This is a great example of the way we strive to use technology to best advantage our customers. Voice activation is not a new product but we are harnessing it in such a way that makes it even easier for our busy customers to work with us. The Bot-Con concept demonstrates the way we think about re-engineering processes — that’s what keeps us one step ahead of the competition.”
Available in both male and female versions the virtual assistant can be selected to blend well with an existing team. Particularly popular in the male version is an optional download that keeps it fully up to date with the half and full time football scores. Law firms involved in the prototype have been full of praise describing it as easy to program and idiot proof to use. Some go so far as to suggest that legal graduates will have to apply for jobs in departments other than conveyancing in future.
But not everyone thinks a virtual assistant is a good idea – Olaf Lipor, Conveyancing Partner at Onefour Solicitors said “I am appalled that anyone should think a robot could replace a conveyancer. We have so much knowledge in our heads — we know our locality so well that we know when we need to order searches and when we don’t. The odd time we get it wrong it’s covered by PI — I really don’t see how this can help our firm”
For more information about Bot-Con contact Search Acumen www.search-acumen.co.uk no later than 1st April 2014.
* An Internet bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone.