Clients who move home quite rightly want to know what their conveyancing solicitor is doing and at what stage they have reached. Most would expect regular telephone calls, or detailed and personal emails. And that is how so many operate. The personal service.
Unfortunately, a more impersonal method exists which is often rolled out as a way to save the conveyancer from having to spend time speaking to their own client – Online Case Tracking.
Online Case Tracking is linked to the conveyancer’s own IT system, so that as they carry out the legal work (e.g. after the letter sending out the contract papers, or the searches applied for, or enquiries raised etc) certain electronic mileposts are triggered sending out an electronic update (i.e. the ticking of a box) to a static webpage which contain unticked boxes of key stages in a conveyancing sale or in a conveyancing purchase. A website that the client has a password access to.
Not so dissimilar than receiving an email to say you can log-in to obtain your bank statement, rather than just receiving an email with it attached.
And all too frequently, the ‘ticks’ are just that. No narrative, no detail, no answers to client questions. No substitute for a conversation and personal update about ‘why, when and who’ which a weekly phone call or detailed personal email from your conveyancing solicitor would.
Online Case Tracking is frequently offered within lower conveyancing charges, as lower charges will invariably mean less service; an the all too common difficulty in ever speaking to your conveyancer. It is all very well to know if the conveyancing searches have been sent off; but what is the turnaround time? Or that searches have been received; but what do they reveal? Or that enquiries have been raised of the Selling lawyers; but are any a worry? Or what about the chain of lawyers, are there any difficulties revealed (i.e “please just speak to me, you are my conveyancer!!”)?
If you have a preference for a personal service, or you are happy to log-in to a remote website, make sure you check before you instruct your conveyancer.