Many residential conveyancers are finding operating in lockdown a difficult and sometimes painful experience. We are coming to terms with transacting business using a model that is cumbersome, outdated and ill-suited to the current limitations imposed on us. Everything seems to take twice if not three times as long to deal with, as we are caught between outdated paper-based conveyancing and the utopian world of electronic conveyancing, whose benefits seem largely illusory at present.

The contrasting styles of high street conveyancing and the factory-style model have brought into sharp relief the shortcomings of both, although the former has perhaps surprisingly turned out to be more resilient.

There have, however, been benefits. First, the ritual jousting between conveyancers seems to have abated, at least for now, as people seem to be much more cooperative than normal. Second, the lost art of speaking to people on the phone seems to have returned and be paying dividends. Long may that continue.

When, eventually, the lights do come back on, there needs to be a serious recalibration of how we carry out conveyancing. We have plenty of time to think about it now. Let’s not waste that opportunity.

Richard Atkins, Property partner, Taylor Walton, Harpenden