What a day to be had!

Yesterday saw conveyancers and related businesses from across the nation come together for the highly prestigious Law Firm Services (LFS) Conference and Awards. Heather Cameron, Editor of Today’s Conveyancer attended throughout the day and night to bring you a full insight into event.

Delegates were welcomed by a vast array of colourful interactive stands from a whole host of sponsors, including Groundsure, TM Group, PSG, and Lawyer Checker to name but a few. This not only allowed guests to discover more about the latest range of products and services the businesses had to offer,  but also get the chance to play some games, eat some delicious treats and have the chance to win the amazing selection of prizes on offer. If all of this wasn’t incentive enough to engage in networking, the LFS team had also organised a system whereby a sticker could be collected from each of the stands; when 10 stickers or more were obtained, delegates could be entered into a prize draw to win a bottle of champagne.

The conference kicked off with a warm welcome from host, Michael Day, Managing Director of Integra Property Services. Michael set the tone for the event, which was engaging, informative, and at times somewhat humorous. Richard Mathias, Sales Director at LFS and main organiser of the event followed Michael with a formal introduction, giving his insight into the current market and future of conveyancing.

DC David Knowles of the Metropolitan Police presented the first session – focussing on identification (ID) fraud and the actions law firms should be taking in order to help prevent such crimes and protect their businesses. As DC Knowles walked amongst the crowd and getting everyone involved with the talk, it became apparent the level of depth that’s required in order to spot a fraudulent document, which was astounding to say the least. Tell-tale signs that were detailed included counterfeit codes, spelling mistakes and inconsistencies, as well as faults with the logo colours of the main high-street banks. DC Knowles also educated guests on the correct use of keywords used to describe fraudulent documents, which could come in particularly useful when reporting such suspected incidents.

Conference sponsor, TM Group held a talk led by Sales and Marketing Director, Ben Harris. Effective customer service was a focus for Ben’s speech, outlining the causes for concern within conveyancing. Presenting some shocking statistics, many conveyancing departments are said to be missing out on great opportunity, with the areas seen to be lacking being the ability to carry out quotation enquiry calls that lead to satisfied customers, as well as increased business for the firm.

Following the first coffee break of the day was a session presented by Gary Miller, Head of Channel at Groundsure – sponsor of the awards evening. After giving a clear rundown of the business structure, Gary shared with delegates some vital information regarding current and proposed licence blocks within energy reports. Having acted on valuable feedback from clients, Groundsure were said to have improved many of their reports and have introduced amendments in order to combat many of the issues that Gary raised.

Nick Drake-Knight of the NDK Group led a highly engaging session about effective customer service and ways to report and analyse feedback in order to enhance your business. Management of resource, processes and people were highlighted as key focuses, and Nick introduced a series of reporting techniques used widely by well-known companies in order to improve their customer service provision. Nick also stressed that business standards and expectations should be explicitly known, and regular coaching of staff members should be carried out in order to instil consistency and ensure adherence to any given standards.

After a delicious lunch, attendees reconvened for a talk by co-founder and Head of Corporate Development at Seven Investment Management, Justin Urquhart-Stewart. Within this session, Justin went into great depths about the economy, and how the UK market is not just affected by its own spending figures, but by many other countries across the globe. Along with some very humorous imagery, one of the main points Justin presented was to ensure firms are not just looking to the FTSE 100 for an accurate overview of the UK economy, but to use a selection of sources that report on cashflow fluctuations over time in order to more accurately analyse the current market and make estimations on future figures.

The daytime portion of the event was closed with an interesting panel discussion with some of the industry’s leading figures. Delegates were invited to present questions to the panel, who then gave their view on the given topic or issue. Some great debates were battled out, with the main points raised surrounding CQS accreditation, transparency within the conveyancing process, and liability between conveyancers and lenders.

As the evening drew in, many more guests joined the crowds as the prestigious award ceremony took place. Everyone was dressed in formal black tie, and after a three-course dinner, the winners and highly commended firms in each category were announced.

Breaking the mould of the stereotypical law events, the LFS Conference and Awards was certainly a day (and night) to be had.

The full list of award winners will be announced next week and we will be interviewing a selection of the firms to capture their achievement.

An incident must also be mentioned, which is of great interest to many of the attendees of the event. The case of the missing orange dogs is currently being investigated by the Today’s Conveyancer team, on behalf of Conscious Solutions. If anybody knows the whereabouts of the two smaller of the Conscious dogs, please do let us know – we are taking this matter into our own hands and we will ensure to keep you informed as the story progresses.

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