Summer holidays are a much-anticipated time for everyone, including hard-working solicitors. However, taking time off can sometimes present challenges in the legal profession, especially in transactional work like conveyancing. In this article, we will explore the potential problems and seek solutions for solicitors to enjoy their summer holidays without compromising client service.
The Return Dilemma.
Picture this: you return from your summer vacation to a cluttered desk and a volley of complaints from clients who couldn’t reach you. Conveyancing can be a lengthy process, and even a week’s absence during the average 16-week timeline can cause client panic. Clients fear that their sale or purchase might fall through without their lawyer’s immediate availability.
Avoiding the Surprise.
Some lawyers exacerbate the situation by avoiding the issue altogether, hoping their clients won’t notice their absence. But when clients or agents reach out and find their lawyer unavailable, it creates an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved.
The Lawyer’s Perspective.
From the lawyer’s standpoint, returning to a barrage of complaints from disgruntled clients is far from appealing. It raises doubts about whether the holiday was worth it in the first place.
The Challenge of Information Management.
Many conveyancing lawyers store vital case information in their heads rather than documenting it. This can create significant disruptions for clients when another lawyer takes over the case. Clients having to repeat themselves and provide information again can lead to frustration.
Small Firms and Sole Traders.
For small firms or sole traders, finding cover during holidays can be more challenging. Asking a colleague to step in may not always be an option, and relying on locums can create more problems than solutions. Will the locum be familiar with your case management system or your specific processes? These considerations make one question the feasibility of going down that route.
Solutions: Communication and Technology.
To address these challenges, solicitors can focus on two key areas: communication and technology.
Communication is Key.
For small firms or sole traders with limited cover options, managing client expectations becomes crucial. Informing clients upfront about case milestones and estimated completion times helps build trust and reduces panic. Be transparent about your planned holiday dates and explain how the firm will handle matters in your absence.
Investing in a robust case management system can offer several advantages. It enables seamless sharing of case information with colleagues providing cover, expediting client matters. Workflows within the system help automate various tasks, reducing reliance on constant availability. Integrating the calendar function allows advance warning for colleagues and clients.
Modern case management systems also offer client portals, providing secure access to case information. Clients can stay updated, much like tracking an online shopping order. They can access relevant documents, view progress updates, and communicate with the solicitor or their team. This level of transparency helps alleviate client anxiety during the solicitor’s absence.
In case of urgent matters, cloud-based systems allow solicitors to work remotely if necessary. Accessing case files from laptops, tablets, or phones ensures prompt attention to crises, although it may blur the line between work and vacation. Solicitors can stay connected and address critical issues without being physically present in the office.
By implementing effective communication strategies and leveraging technology, solicitors can mitigate client panic and enjoy their well-deserved summer holidays. Building trust through clear communication about case milestones and holiday plans, and utilising case management systems with advanced features, can provide clients with a sense of security and maintain the continuity of legal services.
Summer holidays for solicitors can indeed be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation. However, it is crucial to address the potential challenges that arise in transactional legal work, such as conveyancing. By proactively managing client expectations and adopting modern technology solutions, you can strike a balance between enjoying your well-deserved break and ensuring excellent client service. So, go ahead and make the most of your summer break. I shall be doing so in Granada!
If you would like to find out more about how legal technology can help you take a well earned rest, contact us.