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Modern Law Magazine Issue 67

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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>67</strong><br />

ISSN 2976-9396<br />

THE BUSINESS OF LAW<br />

MAKE IT<br />

PART OF<br />

YOUR<br />

DNA<br />

P06 Gihan P10 Caroline P32<br />

Hayes<br />

A Unique Approach To ESG<br />

May<br />

The Importance of<br />

Educated Involvement<br />

LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong><br />

Conveyancing<br />

Awards


Make It Part Of Your DNA<br />

“The first step towards reducing our impact on the planet is to become aware of it.”<br />

David Attenborough<br />

Streamline your<br />

compliance with our<br />

enhanced AML platform<br />

Our enhanced platform will modernise your<br />

compliance processes saving your business<br />

time and money<br />

As extreme weather events are becoming<br />

more and more prevalent and the issue of<br />

climate change is at the forefront of our<br />

minds, everyone must ask themselves, what<br />

can I do to help? We all have a part to play in<br />

making a positive change in how we operate<br />

in our professional and personal lives when<br />

it comes to the environment. With the rise<br />

of Eco-Anxiety, especially within younger<br />

generations, it often feels like a lost cause<br />

and as though time is running out. <strong>Modern</strong><br />

<strong>Law</strong> is here to say there is still hope, and<br />

there are steps we can take to fight climate<br />

change and protect the environment for<br />

future generations.<br />

All people and businesses can take action,<br />

and law firms are no different. In this issue<br />

of <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>, you will find<br />

advice, tips, and examples of what you<br />

and your business can do to help. From<br />

integrating ESG to community outreach<br />

initiatives that all contribute towards a<br />

better tomorrow for the legal profession<br />

and the world beyond.<br />

This issue opens with two interviews, our<br />

first from Gihan Hayes, CEO and Founder<br />

of CommUnique, and our second from<br />

Co-Chair of the LSA, Caroline May. Gihan<br />

discuss the importance and benefits of<br />

making ESG a part of your firms DNA.<br />

Caroline tells us the story of how she came<br />

to be Co-Chair of the LSA and reveals the<br />

initiatives undertaken by the LSA.<br />

to take into account when digitising<br />

our work. Our second Insight is from<br />

Natalie King-Barnard of Green Machine<br />

Computers, in which we learn all about<br />

E-Waste and the impact our old and<br />

abandoned tech has on our planet.<br />

We have a feature from Nigel Dews,<br />

Managing Director at Restore Records<br />

Management, who discusses why a paper<br />

lite approach is the smoothest way to get<br />

to your environmental goals.<br />

Following on, we have an introduction<br />

to our Editorial Board. Here you will<br />

find out who our Editorial Board are,<br />

what they do, and what their company<br />

does. Beyond this page you will find our<br />

usual Editorial Board thought leadership<br />

articles discussing what steps they are<br />

taking to protect the environment in their<br />

day-to-day operations.<br />

After the Editorial Board, you will find<br />

all the details and photos from the LEAP<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards<br />

2023. Congratulations to all our amazing<br />

winners, your dedication and hard work<br />

makes you all such deserving recipients.<br />

Thank you to our incredible judges for<br />

all the hard work and time you put in.<br />

We appreciate you all so much. Finally,<br />

a massive thank you to all our sponsors,<br />

without you none of this would be<br />

possible.<br />

Catch our section about our attendance<br />

at the Frenkel Topping Ball and see all<br />

the details of the Hollywood Glamour<br />

event raising money for the Frenkel<br />

Topping Charitable Foundation.<br />

We then have a wills and probate discussion<br />

with Ochresoft, and our Conveyancing<br />

Roundtable discussing the environmental<br />

aspects of the sector and what the<br />

industries is doing to fight climate change.<br />

Last, but not least, we have our 10<br />

Minutes with Heather Gaffney. See who<br />

she would invite round for dinner, and<br />

what her most memorable achievement<br />

has been in her career.<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> are taking steps to be more<br />

environmentally conscious, and we have<br />

taken the plunge to go fully digital. It feels<br />

quite fitting that we do this with our issue<br />

all about environmental action. Whilst<br />

we loved having our physical copies, we<br />

feel that this is a positive step, and we are<br />

proud to do so.<br />

Call us to book a free demo:<br />

+44 (0)113 346 4245<br />

We have two Insights in this issue from<br />

Alexis Normand of Greenly, who tells us<br />

about the little-known impact of Digital<br />

Carbon Footprints, and what we need<br />

Bradley Collins is back with his<br />

LegalTechTalk series discussing the impact<br />

of legal tech on the environment, and the<br />

tech solutions out there.<br />

Emily Wade is Editor<br />

at <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

01765 600909 | emily@charltongrant.co.uk<br />

modernlawmagazine.com<br />

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Adrian Jaggard, Taylor Rose MW<br />

Martin Cheek, SmartSearch<br />

Paul Sams, Dutton Gregory<br />

Alex Holt, Cashroom<br />

Mark Holt, Frenkel Topping<br />

Neville Dinshaw, <strong>Law</strong> Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

Kathliya Harwood, Speech Processing Solutions<br />

Dave Seager, Matrix Capital<br />

Bronwyn Townsend, InfoTrack<br />

Dominic Hendry, Estate Research<br />

Stay ahead of financial crime with the latest<br />

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ISSUE <strong>67</strong><br />

ISSN 2976-9396<br />

Editor<br />

Emily Wade<br />

Project Manager & Events Sales<br />

Kate McKittrick<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> is published by Charlton Grant Ltd ©2023<br />

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Reproduction in part or whole is strictly forbidden without<br />

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the author and publisher have made every effort to ensure<br />

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3


CONTENTS<br />

CONTENTS<br />

INTERVIEW<br />

INSIGHT<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

06 A Unique Approach To ESG<br />

Gihan Hayes discuss the importance and benefits of make ESG a part of your<br />

firms DNA.<br />

10 Caroline May: The Importance of Educated Involvement<br />

Caroline tells us the story of how she came to be Co-Chair of the LSA and<br />

reveals the initiatives undertaken by the LSA.<br />

14 Navigating Your Digital Carbon Footprint<br />

Alexis Normand of Greenly, who tells us about the little-known impact of<br />

Digital Carbon Footprints, and what we need to take into account when<br />

digitising our work.<br />

15 The Green Machine<br />

Natalie King-Barnard of Green Machine Computers, in which we learn all about<br />

E-Waste and the impact our old and abandoned tech has on our planet.<br />

17 Navigating the digital journey: why a paperlite approach is the<br />

smoothest way to get there<br />

Nigel Dews, Managing Director at Restore Records Management, discusses why<br />

a paper lite approach is the smoothest way to get to your environmental goals.<br />

19 Meet the Editorial Board<br />

Meet our Editorial Board members and find out who they are and what they do.<br />

23 Taylor Rose<br />

Pioneering Environmental Concerns As A Top 60 <strong>Law</strong> Firm<br />

Adrian Jaggard, CEO, Taylor Rose MW<br />

23 Smartsearch<br />

Innovate Or Stagnate To Lead In Legal Ethics<br />

Martin Cheek, Managing Director, SmartSearch<br />

25 Dutton Gregory<br />

Leading By Example<br />

Paul Sams, Partner, Dutton Gregory<br />

25 Cashroom<br />

Contributing To The Development of Innovative Legal Solutions<br />

Alex Holt, Director of Business Development, Cashroom<br />

27 Frenkel Topping<br />

Socially Conscious Advice That Delivers Results<br />

Mark Holt, COO, Frenkel Topping<br />

27 <strong>Law</strong> Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

The Potential Implications Of Greenwashing<br />

Neville Dinshaw, Managing Director, <strong>Law</strong> Mergers & Acquisitions<br />

29 Speech.com<br />

Leveraging Technology To Minimise Your Digital Carbon Footprint?<br />

Kathliya Harwood, Marketing Manager, Speech Processing Solutions<br />

29 Matrix Capital<br />

Is Your Supply Chain Ethically Compatible?<br />

Dave Seager, Consulting Adviser, Matrix Capital<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

AWARDS<br />

LEGAL TECH<br />

FEATURE<br />

ROUNDTABLE<br />

FORUM<br />

10 MINS WITH<br />

31 InfoTrack<br />

Digital Onboarding: Better For Productivity, Accessibility, And The<br />

Environment<br />

Bronwyn Townsend, Senior Marketing Manager, InfoTrack<br />

31 Estate Research<br />

The <strong>Law</strong> Commission’s <strong>Law</strong> of Wills Reform<br />

Dominic Hendry, Head of Private Client, Estate Research<br />

32 A Night At The Circus<br />

Details and photos from the LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023.<br />

Emily Wade, <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong><br />

45 LegalTechTalk<br />

Bradley Collins is back with his LegalTechTalk series discussing the impact of<br />

legal tech on the environment, and the tech solutions out there.<br />

48 Frenkel Topping Ball<br />

Catch our section about our attendance at the Frenkel Topping Ball and see<br />

all the details of the Hollywood Glamour event raising money for the Frenkel<br />

Topping Charitable Foundation.<br />

50 Wills and Probate Discussion<br />

A discussion with Ochresoft about the environmental aspects of the<br />

sector and what the industry is doing to fight climate change. Emily Wade,<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong>.<br />

53 Conveyancing Forum<br />

A forum discussion about the conveyancing sectors environmental impact,<br />

and what everyone conveyancer can do to take positive steps to becoming<br />

environmentally friendly. Emily Wade, <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong><br />

62 10 Mins With... Heather Gaffney<br />

See who Heather would invite round for dinner, and what her most<br />

memorable achievement has been in her career.<br />

Disclaimer: Our publications contain advertising material submitted by third parties. Each individual advertiser is solely responsible for the content of its advertising material. We accept<br />

no responsibility for the content of advertising material, including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. We do not endorse, and are not responsible or liable for,<br />

any advertising or products in such advertising, nor for any any damage, loss or offence caused or alleged to be caused by, or in connection with, the use of or reliance on any such<br />

advertising or products in such advertising.<br />

EDITORIAL BOARD CONTRIBUTORS<br />

SpeechLive<br />

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4<br />

5


INTERVIEWS<br />

INTERVIEWS<br />

A Unique Approach to ESG<br />

A Life of Fighting Climate Change<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Sat Down the Gihan Hayes, CEO and Founder of<br />

CommUnique, to talk about her work helping businesses achieve<br />

their ESG goals, and the importance of making it part of your DNA.<br />

Can you tell us about your journey<br />

and what inspired you to start<br />

CommUnique?<br />

I founded CommUnique for two reasons.<br />

The first reason is that I noticed a gap<br />

in the market, and I needed to fill it<br />

as soon as possible, before someone<br />

else figured out there was a gap in the<br />

market. Secondly, I wanted to create<br />

a company that brought my personal<br />

purpose to life. My personal purpose is<br />

to help the invisible become visible, and<br />

CommUnique does that. We do this by<br />

hiring freelancers from underdeveloped<br />

countries and under-represented<br />

communities. We mentor, and coach<br />

them, and then they deliver the work<br />

with me. If our clients like the work<br />

we have done, they then can go on<br />

and hire our freelancers. Every year<br />

we get 15 sustainability enthusiast or<br />

communication specialists onboard and<br />

work together with clients, and although<br />

this business model can be difficult,<br />

it is definitely working for us. We are<br />

an ESG communications advisory firm,<br />

and we do this through three different<br />

services. The first one is to integrate<br />

ESG into a businesses business model<br />

by creating a strategy and helping the<br />

client understand what initiatives they<br />

need to take or what companies they<br />

need to partner with so the strategy<br />

can be brought to life. If a company<br />

decides to become carbon neutral, we<br />

will advise them on what that means<br />

for the company’s growth, but also who<br />

they should partner with to help them<br />

achieve their goal. The second service is<br />

ESG communications where we help the<br />

company to humanise the sustainability<br />

initiatives in a clear, transparent, and<br />

storytelling way. The third service is<br />

training. This is where we train leadership<br />

teams and employees to understand the<br />

role they play in the sustainability journey,<br />

and more importantly, why they should<br />

care about it. We are a B-Corp certified<br />

organisation which means meeting the<br />

high standards of environmental and<br />

social performance, I am an advisor to<br />

the B-Corp in the U.K. I also sit on the<br />

board of the Money 2020, the largest<br />

FinTech networking platform, and I am<br />

the only person from an ethnic minority<br />

background who is a sustainability mentor<br />

for Accenture’s FinTech innovation lab.<br />

What is the mission and vision of<br />

CommUnique, and how do you<br />

work towards achieving it?<br />

My vision is to grow and to also help<br />

companies to understand the importance<br />

of sustainability but also the importance of<br />

a diverse talent pool. Our mission and goals<br />

are still evolving, but my ultimate goal is<br />

for CommUnique to be the largest ESG<br />

communications and advisory firm in the<br />

world where by the majority of employees<br />

are from underdeveloped countries and<br />

underrepresented communities.<br />

How does CommUnique<br />

incorporate ESG principles<br />

into its own business strategy<br />

and operations?<br />

For us the E has come naturally as I am<br />

the only one from CommUnique in the<br />

U.k. and all my freelancers are from<br />

around the world. This means that we<br />

do everything online and everything<br />

is digitised. However, our mindsets are<br />

not stagnant on this issue and we are<br />

always looking for ways we can become<br />

more environmentally friendly, and<br />

how we can quantify our progress. As<br />

for the S, as I have previously stated,<br />

CommUnique is made up of people from<br />

underrepresented backgrounds and<br />

underdeveloped countries. We pay all our<br />

freelancers a fair wage, and give them<br />

training to future their careers and help<br />

them progress. For our G we have a board<br />

that hold me accountable, we aim to<br />

work with companies who have previously<br />

struggled with ESG and are wanting to<br />

make positive changes.<br />

It is very important to me that<br />

CommUnique is a company that<br />

practices what we preach, and that<br />

we show we are constantly striving<br />

to improve ourselves and up hold our<br />

core values.<br />

Can you share some specific<br />

examples of environmental<br />

sustainability initiatives that<br />

CommUnique has implemented?<br />

The initiative I am extremely proud of<br />

is one we did with a large organisation<br />

in the Stock Exchange. They wanted to<br />

humanise their strategy and wanted to<br />

bring their employees with them on their<br />

journey. So, we created an application<br />

that employees would voluntarily be<br />

able to download that would collect data<br />

from where the employee had commute<br />

from. It would then translate this data<br />

into easily consumable information on the<br />

employee’s carbon footprint. For example,<br />

it would say that if you were to drive into<br />

work everyday you would produce five<br />

swimming pools worth of carbon, but if<br />

you were to walk for 5 minutes and take<br />

public transport you could reduce that by<br />

half a swimming pool.<br />

“I would be a very proud women<br />

when I see that there is an ecosystem<br />

of sustainability that is as diverse,<br />

inclusive, and as equal as possible.”<br />

6<br />

7


INTERVIEWS<br />

INTERVIEWS<br />

We linked this to their HR profile, and<br />

if they showed that they had reduced<br />

their carbon footprint, because we<br />

had educated them, they would get a<br />

congratulatory message from HR on<br />

their achievement. It would also go<br />

towards their appraisal as the employee<br />

would have helped the company achieve<br />

their mission of reducing their carbon<br />

footprint, and they would also receive a<br />

voucher as a thank you.<br />

What social impact programs<br />

or initiatives has CommUnique<br />

undertaken to benefit its<br />

employees, communities, or<br />

society at large?<br />

There are two social programmes we are<br />

now leading on. The first one is working<br />

towards getting more ethnic minority<br />

business founders to be more sustainable.<br />

This is done through our “Sustainovate”<br />

roundtable discussions alongside<br />

other organisations, such as B-Corp.<br />

Sustainovate events are run where we<br />

link Ethnic minority business owners<br />

with investors who will invest in their<br />

companies once they become sustainable,<br />

and sustainability experts who can talk<br />

them through starting their journey<br />

to becoming sustainable. The second<br />

initiative is part of Accenture’s Innovation<br />

Lab ‘s Accelerations programme. I am<br />

promoting ethnic minority business<br />

founders to join this leading acceleration<br />

programme this programme.<br />

What is your approach to creating<br />

ESG strategies for companies?<br />

What does this process look like?<br />

We begin a discovery session where we<br />

deep dive into the companies ESG metrics.<br />

We look at what is concerning their<br />

stakeholders and what is the best practice<br />

in the industry. After, we assess what is the<br />

gap and what seems to be missing, and<br />

how do we fill in the gap. Engaging the<br />

stakeholders in the process is vital. We ask<br />

them why they think we should care about<br />

sustainability as we need to understand<br />

the concerns they have. From here we can<br />

formulate a strategy, which will be based<br />

on the values and mission of the company.<br />

Then we role it out! However, the most<br />

important part for me is the constant<br />

monitoring of the strategy to make sure it<br />

“My vision is to<br />

grow and to also<br />

help companies<br />

to understand<br />

the importance of<br />

sustainability but also<br />

the importance of<br />

a diverse talent pool.”<br />

is achieving all the milestones we have set<br />

in place, and that it is the correct strategy<br />

for the company.<br />

How can law firms ensure<br />

transparency and accountability<br />

in their practices, especially<br />

regarding ESG issues?<br />

The beauty of law firms is that they will<br />

already be documenting things. The advice<br />

I would give to law firms, which I would<br />

give to any company, would be to seek<br />

out third party auditing. You cannot audit<br />

yourself. Just as you have legal bodies<br />

that will audit firms, such as the SRA, a<br />

third party will assess your ESG claims, and<br />

assess the validity of said claims. A third<br />

party, such as myself, will come in and will<br />

audit your communications, and I will pick<br />

the holes in your communications. This<br />

would be party of our Discovery sessions.<br />

After this, every firm would need to put<br />

in place a clear communications strategy<br />

and plan. My final piece of advice would<br />

be to commit to feedback and testing. This<br />

is the only way to get results from ESG<br />

implementation.<br />

Have you encountered any<br />

challenges or obstacles while<br />

integrating ESG principles into<br />

a business, and how have you<br />

addressed them?<br />

I’ve encountered a lot of challenges.<br />

The first challenge would be leadership<br />

advocacy. I’ve found that not all company<br />

leaders believe in the importance of<br />

ESG. We are often brought in to help<br />

communications teams showcase the<br />

importance of sustainability.<br />

The second challenges are companies not<br />

knowing where to start or what steps they<br />

need to take. That is why our process is so<br />

important to follow.<br />

“Commit to feedback and testing. This is the only way to get<br />

results from ESG implementation.”<br />

The third challenge, which is the most frequent, is knowing<br />

how companies can bring their employees with them on the<br />

journey. For example, companies what to know how they can<br />

communicate, across all offices, that it is important for employees<br />

to recycle. So, for this challenge education is key.<br />

Can you discuss the long-term benefits that<br />

businesses can experience as a result of<br />

focussing on ESG?<br />

There are so many benefits, and the data is telling us that.<br />

Reputational management is one thing that can benefit from<br />

implementing ESG. With a strong ESG a company can boost their<br />

brand, and you can attract clients who prioritise sustainable and<br />

ethical operations. Another aspect of data is that you can see<br />

what and where the risks are, but you can also see where the<br />

opportunities are. When you know what the risks are, you know<br />

how to mitigate them, and that is a huge advantage to have.<br />

Implementing ESG can also help with attracting the right talent to<br />

a company. Millennials said they would only work for a company<br />

that has a clear People and Planet Strategy, and that the<br />

company’s values align with their own. The next generation are<br />

steadfast in their convictions and it is important that companies<br />

take not. Last, but not least, is the investment appeal. ESG<br />

investment is currently worth 53 trillion dollars. Companies will<br />

not have a piece of this market if they are not sustainable.<br />

How do you see the role of ESG evolving in the<br />

business world, and what trends do you anticipate in<br />

this area?<br />

I believe that the regulations that will be put in place will force<br />

companies to start reporting on their ESG. Countries are really<br />

coming up against the clock to reach the Paris Agreement<br />

commitments. In Europe there is a new law called CSRD<br />

(Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive) which will make<br />

people panic. It will force everyone in Europe or dealing with<br />

companies in Europe to repost on their ESG. The changes in<br />

regulation are going to be one of the biggest changes as they<br />

become more serious and demanding.<br />

Another trend I predict is the holistic approach towards ESG<br />

and how to run a company. Business will start seeing ESG from<br />

centred holistic from what it has been up to now, which is from a<br />

separate initiative point of view.<br />

“I want to normalise the saving of<br />

people and the planet.”<br />

Gihan Hayes,<br />

CEO and Founder, CommUnique<br />

What advice do you have for companies looking to<br />

embrace ESG practices and make a positive impact on<br />

the environment, society, and governance?<br />

Number one; integrate, don’t isolate. Meaning that companies<br />

should make it part of their DNA. It needs to be normalised in<br />

communications. Make ESG part of the employee journey from<br />

asking questions about sustainability at interview stages, to having<br />

objective appraisals for employees to meet. Finally, education<br />

is key. ESG is an ever-evolving topic and constant education is<br />

needed for all leaders and employees. Setting clear benchmarks is<br />

vital as then you are able to see from data what aspects need more<br />

attention and people need more education on the matter.<br />

Finally, as the CEO of CommUnique, what legacy do<br />

you hope to leave in the industry and for your team?<br />

This reminded me to write my will!<br />

I would be a very proud woman when I see that there is an ecosystem<br />

of sustainability that is as diverse, inclusive, and as equal<br />

as possible. So far, the numbers are shocking when it comes to<br />

the number of diverse thought leaders. So, I would like my legacy<br />

to be known for normalising ESG initiatives and reporting, and<br />

making it part of the DNA of companies. I want to normalise the<br />

saving of people and the planet.<br />

8 9


INTERVIEWS<br />

INTERVIEWS<br />

Caroline May:<br />

The Importance of<br />

Educated Involvement<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> sat down with Caroline May of the LSA, <strong>Law</strong> Society,<br />

and Norton Rose Fullbright to discuss her journey to becoming<br />

Co-Chair of the LSA, what the LSA and <strong>Law</strong> Society have been up to,<br />

and her predictions for the future of environmental commitments.<br />

Can you tell us about your journey to becoming Co-<br />

Chair of the Legal Sustainability Alliance and Partner<br />

at Norton Rose Fulbright?What inspired you to<br />

pursue a career in law and sustainability?<br />

I’ve been doing Environmental <strong>Law</strong> long before it was called<br />

sustainability. I have been in this area of work for around 35 years,<br />

well before it was fashionable, and my route into it was Toxic<br />

Tort Litigation. When I was a young lawyer at Clifford Chance, I<br />

handled two very big cases of tort litigation, one involving dioxin<br />

contamination and the other involving an explosive landfill site.<br />

Both cases were very high profile and involved organisations such<br />

as Greenpeace. These cases took between five to eight years<br />

each, and by the time they were high court multi-party pieces of<br />

litigation, I was the pollution and contamination expert in-house.<br />

Shortly after came the Environmental Protection Act (1990)<br />

meaning that what had been water and land contamination<br />

became environmental contamination when the law was codified.<br />

Thereafter, I became a fully-fledged environmental lawyer.<br />

As for my journey to becoming Co-Chair of the LSA, I first<br />

became a member when it was first formed and eventually, I was<br />

approached when the previous leader was standing down to take<br />

the position alongside Matt Sparks, who is the Sustainability<br />

Manager at Linklaters.<br />

I came to be Chair of the <strong>Law</strong> Society’s Climate Change Working<br />

Group again by being approached by the then president. At<br />

the time, the <strong>Law</strong> Society was facing a challenge from its own<br />

members asking what the <strong>Law</strong> Society was doing about climate<br />

change, and why there was no specific committee to respond<br />

to issues and government consultation. We spoke with the <strong>Law</strong><br />

Society’s council about a committee, and the Climate Change<br />

Working Group was born. This led to the <strong>Law</strong> Society Resolution<br />

on Climate Emergency in October 2021, just before COP in<br />

Glasgow. After that, we were mandated to produce the first <strong>Law</strong><br />

Society guidance for the profession on climate change, the first<br />

of its kind in any profession. It has now been picked up by many<br />

Bar and <strong>Law</strong> councils and societies around the world.<br />

What are some of the key initiatives or projects that<br />

the LSA has been involved in to promote/integrate<br />

sustainability and responsible business practices<br />

among law firms?<br />

The Legal Sustainability Alliance (LSA) has been actively involved<br />

in promoting sustainability and responsible business practices<br />

among law firms through various initiatives. Carbon Footprint<br />

Reporting: Encouraging law firms to measure and report<br />

their environmental impact. Sustainable Practices Guidance:<br />

Providing guidance on energy efficiency, waste reduction,<br />

and eco-friendly procurement. Legal Sector Alliance Carbon<br />

Commitment: Collaborating with law firms committed to reducing<br />

carbon emissions. Knowledge Sharing and Events: Organising<br />

events for firms to share experiences, best practices, and discuss<br />

sustainability. Collaboration with Stakeholders: Working with<br />

legal professionals, clients, and environmental organisations to<br />

promote sustainability. Biodiversity and Nature-Based Solutions:<br />

Encouraging firms to consider biodiversity and nature-based<br />

solutions. Advocacy for Policy Change: Engaging in advocacy<br />

efforts for policies supporting sustainability in the legal sector.<br />

Employee Engagement Programmes: Encouraging firms to<br />

implement programmes that raise awareness and involve<br />

employees in sustainability initiatives.<br />

How can law firms effectively integrate sustainability<br />

practices into their operations and services, and what<br />

benefits can they derive from doing so?<br />

They can follow the guidance firstly. Sustainability has challenges<br />

and opportunities. The challenges are the supply chain, gathering<br />

ESG data from them, setting and verifying net zero targets, and<br />

other things like reducing emissions from work travel. Sustainability<br />

management needs to be integrated into a firm with a committee<br />

that every department is represented on. Enshrining environmental<br />

management principles through every area of the business is<br />

vital. The benefits from integrating sustainable practices are farreaching.<br />

Clients are expecting firms to be setting goals and striving<br />

to reach them. Sticking to environmental goals can help with client<br />

retention, and is a business-critical issue. There are also lots of new<br />

areas of law that have opened up in the profession and has allowed<br />

new and different talent to join.<br />

“Sustainability has challenges<br />

and opportunities.”<br />

“We work with some of the<br />

biggest clients in the world<br />

and that allows us to promote<br />

the agenda. Our responsible<br />

business and sustainability<br />

initiatives are something to<br />

be proud of.”<br />

Norton Rose Fulbright has been recognized<br />

for its commitment to sustainability, including<br />

its ranking in the FTSE4Good Index. Could you<br />

share some specific examples of sustainability<br />

initiatives or achievements that you’re<br />

particularly proud of within the firm?<br />

We won the first Infrastructure Journal ESG Award, and that<br />

recognized some of the work around the world, such as<br />

renewable energy projects. That kind of pioneering work is<br />

something I am very proud we were involved in. Other things I am<br />

proud of is our work within carbon capture, and working on new<br />

technology and initiatives, and energy transitions.<br />

We work with some of the biggest clients in the world and that<br />

allows us to promote the agenda. Our responsible business and<br />

sustainability initiatives are something to be proud of. How we<br />

produce and deliver our work in this area, such as our work with<br />

Save the Children, is something else I’m pleased to be a part of.<br />

NRF also does a lot of small community projects we don’t shout<br />

about, but are of equal importance to us, and our staff give<br />

up their time to volunteer in the community. I am proud of us<br />

professionally for what we do, and it is gratifying to find that it is<br />

recognized by our clients, peers, and industry leaders.<br />

10 11


INTERVIEWS<br />

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• Keep a track of all your cases, especially when<br />

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• Always have access to open cases, including<br />

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• Benefit from full business and process<br />

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• Utilise our unrivalled Legal Library<br />

• Save time through one-click production of Estate<br />

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• Ensure that your risks are managed as standard<br />

• Receive timely updates to tax rates,<br />

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• Keep your cases compliant with STEP/WIQS<br />

• Enjoy our Institute of Customer Service<br />

accredited service and support, rated at better<br />

than 95% satisfied by our existing customers<br />

Stakeholder engagement is crucial<br />

for sustainable practices. How can<br />

firms actively engage with clients,<br />

employees, and communities<br />

to ensure alignment with<br />

sustainability goals and values?<br />

Transparent communication is<br />

paramount—regular updates on<br />

sustainability initiatives build trust and<br />

accountability with clients, employees,<br />

and the community. Collaborating with<br />

clients to understand their sustainability<br />

expectations integrates these values into<br />

legal initiatives. Employee involvement<br />

is crucial, fostering a sustainable<br />

culture through feedback, awareness<br />

programmes, and training. Actively<br />

participating in community outreach,<br />

such as supporting local sustainability<br />

projects, reinforces the firm’s commitment<br />

to shared environmental and social<br />

goals. Forming partnerships and alliances<br />

amplifies the impact of sustainability<br />

initiatives and broadens the support<br />

network. Sustainability should be<br />

integrated into the firm’s core values,<br />

guiding decision-making processes<br />

and operations. Educating clients on<br />

sustainable legal practices and providing<br />

resources facilitates their integration<br />

into business initiatives. Regular<br />

sustainability reporting demonstrates<br />

commitment to improvement. Supporting<br />

employee volunteering and incentivizing<br />

sustainable practices fosters a positive<br />

environment and strengthens connections<br />

with stakeholders. Through these<br />

initiatives, law firms can actively engage<br />

stakeholders, creating a collaborative<br />

approach to sustainability that aligns<br />

with the values and goals of clients,<br />

employees, and the wider community.<br />

Collaboration is often key<br />

to advancing sustainability<br />

goals. Can you discuss any<br />

partnerships or collaborations<br />

that the LSA has entered into<br />

with other organisations or law<br />

firms to drive sustainability<br />

initiatives forward?<br />

The LSA itself is a mixture of 120 law<br />

firms and is built on collaboration. LSA<br />

also collaborates with the Chancery<br />

Lane Project, and the <strong>Law</strong> Society to<br />

roll out the Guidance on Sustainability<br />

in the new year. We liaise with the Net<br />

Zero <strong>Law</strong>yers Alliance and many other<br />

initiatives, and where it is possible to do<br />

so, we collaborate. Collaborations across<br />

our industry sector are key, and the<br />

educational element of that is important,<br />

but collaboration for legal professionals<br />

is a multi-disciplinary area.<br />

What long-term goals and<br />

strategies does The <strong>Law</strong> Society<br />

have in place to further its<br />

commitment to combating<br />

climate change through the<br />

legal profession?<br />

The <strong>Law</strong> Society is going to build on the<br />

guidance that is already out there, and<br />

also produce sector-specific guidance,<br />

in which the work is already underway.<br />

We are also speaking with the SRA on<br />

whether regulations are necessary in<br />

the area, as our guidance is voluntary.<br />

The regulators are watching the space<br />

as to whether anything mandatory is<br />

required. So, watch this space. There is<br />

a role to play there in developing those<br />

regulations. Once again education is key<br />

and The <strong>Law</strong> Society’s aim is to make sure<br />

lawyers are informed and up-to-date with<br />

the latest information and guidance.<br />

“Collaborations<br />

across our industry<br />

sector are key.”<br />

Do you think that any of the<br />

guidance will become mandatory,<br />

and do you think it should?<br />

I think it’s a possibility that there will be<br />

mandatory guidance, particularly around<br />

solicitors’ duty of care and responsibility.<br />

These are the areas that I think will<br />

become mandatory first. It’s already here<br />

to some extent. Do I think there should<br />

be some guidance made mandatory?<br />

Yes. I think there should be, depending<br />

on what it is. I think that unless you have<br />

a framework against which to judge, it is<br />

very difficult to drive standards of what<br />

is required and what is a benchmark.<br />

As with everything in society, I think<br />

you need the law and the framework to<br />

govern the area so people know what is<br />

expected of them.<br />

Finally, what advice would you<br />

like to give to every lawyer on the<br />

topic of sustainability?<br />

Educate yourself about how it affects<br />

your practice, and get involved. Educated<br />

involvement is key.<br />

Caroline May,<br />

Co-Chair, LSA<br />

Get in touch to find out how we can support your business.<br />

03300 366 700 | enquiries@ochresoft.com | ochresoft.com<br />

13


INSIGHT<br />

INSIGHT<br />

Navigating Your Digital Carbon Footprint<br />

When it comes to being kind to the planet, the role of the legal industry isn’t just to safeguard<br />

and advise clients on the legal implications of their actions, but also to do its own part to<br />

operate in a climate-efficient way. Here, we’ll look specifically at digital carbon footprints in law<br />

firms and what those in the industry need to be mindful of in order to reduce carbon emissions<br />

stemming from digital activities.<br />

Digital carbon footprint<br />

A common assumption is that the<br />

growth of hybrid working must have<br />

been good for the planet, with fewer<br />

people commuting back and forth to<br />

work every day in polluting vehicles<br />

and less energy consumption needed<br />

to power office buildings. But the<br />

fact that remote and hybrid working<br />

has increased the amount of digital<br />

communication taking place doesn’t<br />

come without its own environmental<br />

impact. In fact, The Shift Project<br />

(source*) estimates that the carbon<br />

footprint linked to digital activities<br />

accounts for around 4% of the world’s<br />

total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions -<br />

with the IT sector’s emissions projected<br />

to continue rising exponentially.<br />

The main contributors to the digital<br />

carbon footprint of a business are<br />

typically on-site and remote use of<br />

computers, servers and other digital<br />

devices (such as mobile phones,<br />

tablets, projectors etc.) and the use of<br />

remote internet services like the cloud.<br />

With the emissions from both of these<br />

activities typically coming from both<br />

the manufacturing and use of said<br />

equipment and services.<br />

How law firms can be more<br />

conscious of their digital<br />

carbon footprint<br />

When deciding what equipment is<br />

needed in an office and for employees<br />

to use remotely, law firms should take<br />

into consideration how equipment<br />

is manufactured, what materials are<br />

used, and also the options for disposal.<br />

Ultimate buying decisions should be<br />

made based on this information.<br />

In addition to this, and equally<br />

important, is knowing what servers and<br />

data centres that cloud services use.<br />

Whilst it’s very easy to fall into an ‘out<br />

of sight, out of mind’ mentality when<br />

it comes to cloud services, increasing<br />

regulation will soon make it essential<br />

for all businesses to know - and be able<br />

to report on - the carbon emissions of<br />

all of their suppliers. And that includes<br />

cloud suppliers.<br />

Other, specific steps that law firms can<br />

take to reduce their corporate digital<br />

carbon footprint include:<br />

• Extend the life of IT equipment<br />

Firms should only replace equipment<br />

that has stopped working and is<br />

beyond repair. When replacing<br />

equipment, don’t always buy new<br />

- instead, consider second-hand<br />

or refurbished equipment. There<br />

are also now labels to certify that a<br />

product meets certain sustainability<br />

requirements, so be sure to seek<br />

these out too.<br />

• Identify suppliers with good<br />

carbon intensity<br />

Simply selecting the right partners<br />

can help a business align with the<br />

Paris agreement trajectory to net<br />

zero. Commit to undertaking a<br />

supplier audit to understand the<br />

environmental performance of<br />

existing suppliers and set parameters<br />

that future suppliers must meet.<br />

• Review your cloud supplier<br />

Most cloud providers are huge<br />

contributors to emissions because<br />

of the exponential growth of their<br />

operations. Cloud computing uses<br />

up electricity, and the source of<br />

electricity is not always green. Think<br />

about choosing cloud instances<br />

located in countries with low carbon<br />

energy mixes (such as the Nordics,<br />

Switzerland, France) as opposed to<br />

countries like Ireland.<br />

“It’s more important<br />

than ever for<br />

individuals and firms<br />

of all sizes to get<br />

their house in order.”<br />

How to reduce your own digital<br />

carbon footprint as an employee<br />

The use of computer and electronic<br />

equipment generates a third of an<br />

employee’s total GHG emissions at work.<br />

Therefore, thinking about how you use<br />

this equipment and what you use it for can<br />

help you to reduce your own emissions:<br />

• Turn off your camera<br />

Amazingly, simply having your<br />

camera turned off during a one hour<br />

Zoom call can reduce the carbon<br />

emissions of that call by 96%*.<br />

• Avoid unnecessary email<br />

attachments<br />

Sending an email with a photo<br />

attachment emits over ten times as<br />

many CO2 equivalent emissions as<br />

sending a regular email*. Therefore,<br />

instead opt for links to shared<br />

drives to share files.<br />

• Opt for WiFi over 4G or 5G<br />

Wherever possible, login to local<br />

WiFi networks when needing the<br />

internet. As - for example - watching<br />

a video using WiFi, rather than 4G,<br />

consumes 23 times less energy.<br />

Green credentials, commitments and<br />

policies are becoming a key factor in all<br />

manner of commercial transactions. And<br />

increasing regulation related to carbon<br />

emissions means it’s more important<br />

than ever for individuals and firms of all<br />

sizes to get their house in order to help<br />

future proof their business.<br />

Alexis Normand, co-founder and CEO<br />

at carbon accounting platform, Greenly<br />

The Green Machine<br />

In our tech-centric world, electronic devices have become our faithful companions. From<br />

the moment we wake to our smartphone alarms, to the late-night Netflix binge on our<br />

smart TVs, technology is ever-present. But there’s a dark side to this relentless innovation:<br />

a colossal pile of electronic waste (e-waste), which takes up valuable space and poses a<br />

significant environmental threat.<br />

Our electronic devices have a significant<br />

impact on our environment. The process<br />

of manufacturing a single desktop<br />

computer requires around 539 pounds<br />

of fossil fuels, 48 pounds of chemicals,<br />

and at least 1.5 tons of water. That’s<br />

a staggering number of resources for<br />

just one piece of technology. But it<br />

doesn’t stop there. The production<br />

process generates roughly 150 kgs<br />

of greenhouse gases. Inside your<br />

electronics are rare Earth materials such<br />

as gold, silver, copper, and cobalt. These<br />

resources have limited supplies and are<br />

often hazardous to extract.<br />

So, what’s the answer to this growing<br />

problem? Recycling and Reuse. When<br />

we recycle our electrical equipment,<br />

we reduce its negative effect on the<br />

environment significantly. Creating a more<br />

eco-conscious and circular life cycle for<br />

technology is vital for protecting the planet<br />

from the harmful materials in our devices.<br />

The number of electrical items that get<br />

thrown away is constantly growing, and<br />

currently, only 17.5% of this waste is<br />

recycled appropriately. When we recycle<br />

our old devices, the precious materials<br />

can be extracted and reused, meaning<br />

that we don’t need to mine for more. It<br />

also stops more greenhouse gases from<br />

entering the atmosphere.<br />

Meet Natalie King-Barnard, Head of<br />

Sales and Marketing at Green Machine<br />

Computers. For 12 years, they’ve been<br />

on a mission to protect the environment<br />

and tackle digital poverty by helping<br />

businesses dispose of obsolete IT<br />

equipment securely. The Wiltshire-based<br />

recycling facility is committed to proper<br />

e-waste recycling and disposal. Their<br />

accreditations are proof that they handle<br />

both data and waste materials in a safe<br />

and environmentally friendly way. They<br />

repair and reuse absolutely everything<br />

possible (down to screws and office<br />

furniture), and partner with a number<br />

of charities to rehome useful hardware.<br />

Working with a refinery, they break down<br />

irreparable IT equipment to their core<br />

materials, so that these can be melted<br />

down and reused.<br />

This process liberates office space and<br />

maintains GDPR compliance while<br />

lowering carbon emissions and ensuring<br />

these devices benefit less fortunate<br />

individuals. Green Machine Computers,<br />

with its customers’ help, has cut CO2<br />

emissions by 13,500 metric tonnes in<br />

the last five years. That’s equivalent<br />

to powering 1,701 homes for a year.<br />

This isn’t just about numbers; it’s a<br />

commitment to sustainability. The<br />

dedicated team tests, repairs and reuses<br />

every useable component from the<br />

devices collected, ensuring that nothing<br />

goes to waste. Moreover, Green Machine<br />

Computers offers customers a clear<br />

breakdown of their CO2 savings.<br />

But what about your data? Many<br />

businesses worry about recycling their<br />

devices because of the data they<br />

contain. However, recycling companies<br />

like Green Machine take data security<br />

extremely seriously. They wipe all the<br />

data from every device they recycle as<br />

standard and can provide certificates to<br />

prove this along with a full audit trail of<br />

what has been collected.<br />

Instead of trashing perfectly functional<br />

devices, Green Machine Computers<br />

specialises in refurbishing and<br />

extending the lifespan of electronic<br />

equipment. While collecting and<br />

diverting this equipment, they’ve<br />

been able to refurbish thousands of<br />

devices which have then been donated<br />

to schools, charities and non-profit<br />

organisations across the UK. Green<br />

Machine Computers recognise the<br />

social inequalities perpetuated by the<br />

‘digital divide’. Through partnerships<br />

with schools, charities, and non-profit<br />

organisations, they donate refurbished<br />

devices to disadvantaged communities.<br />

By securely wiping and restoring<br />

unwanted technology, the team can<br />

rehome devices with people in need<br />

who can utilise them for educational,<br />

employment, and social opportunities.<br />

“As our world<br />

continues to<br />

go digital, our<br />

responsibilities<br />

grow.”<br />

So far, their donations have supported<br />

a wide variety of people, from refugees<br />

to local youth groups, from women’s<br />

shelters to children’s hospices. Their<br />

work has ensured that all of that ‘waste’,<br />

has not been wasted.<br />

As our world continues to go digital,<br />

our responsibilities grow. Green<br />

Machine Computers proves that<br />

tackling e-waste is a collective<br />

responsibility to build a sustainable<br />

future for the technology industry.<br />

Natalie King-Barnard, Head of<br />

Sales and Marketing, Green Machine<br />

Computers.<br />

14 15


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Navigating the digital<br />

journey: why a paperlite<br />

approach is the smoothest<br />

way to get there<br />

The call to go digital and ditch the paper trail is<br />

echoing louder than ever, and it’s easy to see why.<br />

The promise of heightened efficiency,<br />

bulletproof compliance, and long-term<br />

cost savings is tempting to say the least.<br />

But let’s be honest – it’s not always as<br />

easy as it sounds.<br />

For many law firms, diving headfirst into<br />

a full-scale digital transformation can feel<br />

like swimming against the tide. Especially<br />

when dealing with vast archives of paper<br />

records spanning decades.<br />

This is where a hybrid paperlite approach<br />

comes in, bridging the gap between the<br />

physical and digital realms.<br />

Despite the success stories, digital<br />

transformation projects don’t always<br />

unfold as smoothly as one might hope.<br />

In reality, the statistics present a starkly<br />

different narrative. According to a<br />

report by Deloitte, a staggering 70% of<br />

digital transformation initiatives within<br />

organisations end in failure.<br />

Why? Many of these failures come down<br />

to financial constraints. Often businesses<br />

find that scanning every single document<br />

simply isn’t financially viable.<br />

Plus, you’ve got hurdles such as a lack of<br />

digital skills, technical issues, management<br />

meltdowns, and employees giving the<br />

side-eye to culture change.<br />

Legal requirements for<br />

physical documents<br />

Legal requirements are another obstacle<br />

on the path to full digitalisation. As you<br />

will know within your own sector, laws<br />

mandate businesses to generate and<br />

maintain physical documents.<br />

This means that while businesses can save<br />

on physical storage costs by going digital,<br />

they may still have to keep the original<br />

paper documents for a specified period.<br />

For this reason, the coexistence of physical<br />

and digital records has become a practical<br />

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Counting the costs<br />

Scanning every single record your business<br />

holds is expensive and often unnecessary<br />

– and it may take a long time to see a<br />

return on your investment.<br />

On top of this, if you want to keep paper<br />

backups, this adds another layer of<br />

complexity and expense.<br />

The solution: paperlite<br />

The good news is that physical records<br />

storage has evolved. Technology now<br />

allows for on-demand scanning, secure<br />

destruction scheduling, and comprehensive<br />

document management online.<br />

17<br />

This enables the delivery of a ‘paperlite’<br />

policy rather than rushing straight to<br />

‘paperless’ - and that’s ideal for businesses<br />

who are daunted by the journey.<br />

These days physical records are easier than<br />

ever to access with every single record<br />

tagged - and it’s even possible to manage<br />

them through an online portal.<br />

Reducing your inventory and only storing<br />

records which need to be kept is a big part<br />

of a paperlite future, too. It can save money<br />

and make it easier to go fully digital in future<br />

because you have fewer records to digitise.<br />

Prioritising high-demand records<br />

Not all records are equally important<br />

or accessed with the same frequency.<br />

Identifying high-demand documents<br />

allows you to prioritise their digitisation,<br />

making them readily available online.<br />

This efficient approach saves both time<br />

and resources. By evaluating the contents<br />

of your archive, you can determine which<br />

records should be digitally converted,<br />

securely destroyed, or remain in their<br />

current physical form.<br />

For frequently accessed records, scanning<br />

is the ideal solution. Digital copies can be<br />

retrieved instantly, eliminating the need<br />

for physical retrieval.<br />

Unlocking space and efficiency<br />

Embracing a hybrid, paperlite, approach<br />

facilitates the effortless transition of even the<br />

most recently created records, ensuring their<br />

accessibility from various storage locations.<br />

As the retention date for specific records<br />

approaches, it becomes imperative to<br />

ensure their secure disposal, accompanied<br />

by the acquisition of a destruction<br />

certificate as a testament to compliance.<br />

These measures free up valuable space<br />

that can be repurposed to serve other<br />

pressing business requirements.<br />

In essence, comprehensive knowledge<br />

of your records is the key to making<br />

well-informed choices regarding what<br />

warrants digitisation.<br />

Embracing a hybrid approach isn’t just<br />

a compromise; it’s a strategic advantage<br />

that blends tradition and innovation.<br />

Offering enhanced efficiency, unwavering<br />

compliance, and substantial savings - all<br />

the benefits of going digital, with much<br />

less of the faff!<br />

To find out how we can help you adopt<br />

the paperlite approach, please visit:<br />

www.restore.co.uk/Legal<br />

Nigel Dews<br />

Managing Director,<br />

Restore Records Management


EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

It all starts<br />

with eCOS<br />

Effective client onboarding is critical<br />

to starting strong relationships and<br />

ensuring that you meet your KYC<br />

and AML requirements.<br />

Source<br />

of Funds<br />

One-click<br />

AML<br />

Info<br />

Gathering<br />

eCOS<br />

Digital ID<br />

Checks<br />

eCOS is one simple platform that includes matter-specific client<br />

questionnaires, digital ID and AML checks, and Source of Funds and<br />

Wealth information gathering. It does all the hard work for you and gives<br />

your clients one seamless experience.<br />

Meet The<br />

Editorial Board<br />

In the following pages you will meet<br />

our incredible Editorial Board members<br />

who contribute to every issue to<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>. They offer<br />

their thought leadership, and industry<br />

expertise in all their articles that help<br />

modernise the legal industry. Their<br />

vital knowledge of the legal landscape<br />

and the issues every person in this<br />

industry faces makes them invaluable<br />

contributors to the conversations<br />

taking place in the industry.<br />

The Editorial Board members’ aim, as well<br />

as <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong>’s, is that every reader takes<br />

something away from each issue that will<br />

help them in their careers and enable them<br />

to have a deeper understanding of industry<br />

topics, and what actions they can take to be<br />

at the forefront of the legal sector.<br />

Every issue you read their thoughts and<br />

ideas, and now it is time to meet them<br />

properly. On the following pages you will<br />

find out more about our Editorial Board<br />

members, who they are, and what they do.<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> would like to say a special<br />

thank you to our Editorial Board members<br />

whose continuous support and contributions<br />

are greatly appreciated.<br />

More convenient onboarding, better information, improved compliance…<br />

It all starts with eCOS.<br />

Find out more:<br />

sales@infotrack.co.uk<br />

0207 186 8090<br />

www.infotrack.co.uk


EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

Paul Sams<br />

Paul Sams has over 20 years’ experience in<br />

residential, commercial, and development<br />

property law, developed niche specialisms<br />

in leasehold enfranchisement matters and<br />

equity release. Paul also leads a team of 50<br />

people at Dutton Gregory Solicitors, where<br />

he is Head of Property. Paul has written<br />

six industry books to date, including ‘New<br />

Build Conveyancing: The Essential Guide’,<br />

and become an award-winning, nationally<br />

recognised expert in the field of residential<br />

property. As well as being asked to deliver<br />

lectures and seminars to members of the<br />

legal profession, Housing Associations<br />

and for RICS, Paul is regularly asked to<br />

contribute his advice, opinion and insight<br />

to subjects relating to the residential<br />

property sector and conveyancing in the<br />

industry media.<br />

Adrian Jaggard<br />

Co-founder and CEO of two innovative<br />

and fast-growing companies: AIIC Group<br />

and Taylor Rose MW. AIIC Group provides<br />

investment, strategic collaborations, and<br />

a platform for growth to our enterprises,<br />

while Taylor Rose MW is a top 60 smart,<br />

modern law firm with offices across the<br />

UK and Australia.<br />

My educational background includes<br />

completing a GDL, LPC, and a master’s in<br />

law and business. My core competencies<br />

include strategy development and<br />

execution, risk management. I started<br />

my career as a trainee costs draftsman,<br />

co-founding Jaggards Legal Costs<br />

Consultants with my brother, before<br />

transitioning to Taylor Rose.<br />

Dave Seager<br />

With over 35 years in financial services,<br />

Dave has spent the last 15 focused on and<br />

specialising in the overlap between legal<br />

services and financial planning.<br />

Until 2021 he was the MD of SIFA<br />

Professional, assisting quality financial<br />

advisory firms forge mutually beneficial<br />

and compliant partnerships with solicitors.<br />

Dave still advises his former company but<br />

proudly acts as a consultant for carefully<br />

selected well qualified and respected<br />

financial planning businesses, seeking<br />

to develop client beneficial relationships<br />

with law firms.<br />

He was delighted to ask to work with<br />

Robin Melley, one of the UK’s most<br />

experienced and respected financial<br />

planners and his award-winning Shropshire<br />

based advisory firm, Matrix Capital.<br />

Bronwyn Townsend<br />

Bronwyn Townsend, Senior Marketing<br />

Manager, InfoTrack<br />

Bronwyn joined InfoTrack in 2016, shortly<br />

after the business launched in the UK. She<br />

has contributed to delivering key industry<br />

projects including the Digital Conveyancing<br />

Summit, Digital Conveyancing Maturity<br />

Index, and a series of topical ebooks and<br />

articles on the latest insights and trends in<br />

digital conveyancing.<br />

InfoTrack are pioneers in digitising legal<br />

processes. They provide a powerful suite<br />

of solutions across client onboarding,<br />

identity verification, e-signature, and<br />

conveyancing services. InfoTrack’s services<br />

help to assure compliance, enhance<br />

the client experience, and improve<br />

productivity within law firms.<br />

Neville Dinshaw<br />

Neville Dinshaw is the managing director<br />

of <strong>Law</strong> Mergers & Acquisitions. Having<br />

joined the firm in 1995, Neville was made<br />

partner in 1997 and managing director<br />

in 2019. Under Neville’s leadership, the<br />

business has grown and is now widely<br />

recognised in England and Wales as the<br />

‘go-to’ brokerage for law practice sales,<br />

mergers, acquisitions and valuations.<br />

Neville is passionate about helping law<br />

firms in difficulty or just looking for a<br />

different horizon. Neville feels proud<br />

of the support he has provided to many<br />

young professionals looking to start their<br />

working journey in the legal industry.<br />

Notably, Neville’s company has achieved<br />

multiple awards for work in its sector and<br />

is a respected player on the global stage.<br />

Outside of work, Neville enjoys spending<br />

time with his family, travelling when<br />

work allows and learning about different<br />

cultures. Neville is committed to charities<br />

he supports and with the sponsorship of<br />

education for children in need.<br />

Alex Holt<br />

Alex qualified as a Solicitor in 1993 and<br />

became a partner at two top 100 law<br />

firms before moving on to set up his own<br />

Executive Search business specialising<br />

in strategic resourcing and M&A for law<br />

firms. Alex then went on to join a global IT<br />

outsourcer called Steria where he created<br />

and delivered their strategy for developing<br />

a legal sector offering. In 2014 Alex joined<br />

Cashroom to head up Business Development<br />

and open Cashroom in England and Wales,<br />

and then the USA in 2022, leading new<br />

market and product exploration.<br />

Martin Cheek<br />

Martin Cheek is managing director of<br />

SmartSearch, the UK’s leading provider<br />

of digital compliance and anti-money<br />

laundering (AML) software and solutions.<br />

As well as one of the company’s cofounders,<br />

Martin himself is a qualified<br />

lawyer, holding a law degree and an MBA<br />

in business from the Open University.<br />

With his extensive regulatory knowledge<br />

across the legal, financial services,<br />

accountancy, and property sectors, as well as<br />

other regulated industries, Martin has been<br />

instrumental. His profound understanding<br />

and strategic guidance have been essential<br />

in helping law firms fortify their defences<br />

against criminal networks seeking to exploit<br />

firms for illicit financial activities.<br />

From start-up to scale-up, SmartSearch<br />

has grown from strength to strength, with<br />

its digital compliance platform now trusted<br />

by more than 6,500 clients and 60,000<br />

users – including one-in-three of the UK’s<br />

top 200 law firms.<br />

As managing director, Martin works<br />

closely with the board of directors and<br />

SmartSearch’s team of almost 200 staff<br />

to support the continued fight against<br />

financial crime and growth of the business<br />

across all regulated markets.<br />

Kathliya Harwood<br />

Kathliya Harwood is the Marketing<br />

Manager for Philips Dictation UK; she<br />

has 15+ years’ experience in marketing<br />

and over 10 years’ experience working in<br />

the software sector. Kathliya manages<br />

and executes all marketing activities such<br />

as digital and print advertising, content<br />

creation, events management and PR for<br />

Philips Dictation UK, Ireland, and South<br />

Africa; she has worked for Philips Dictation<br />

for nearly 2 years. Philips Dictation is<br />

an international technology company<br />

headquartered in Vienna, Austria and is a<br />

global leader in dictation solutions. Their<br />

solutions include web-based and desktop<br />

workflow software as well as dictation<br />

devices; to help automate document<br />

creation for efficient working.<br />

Dominic Hendry<br />

Dominic Hendry, Head of Private Client at<br />

Estate Research<br />

Dominic heads up Estate Research’s<br />

large Private Client team, all of whom<br />

are focused on delivering top-class<br />

genealogy services to solicitors. He has<br />

worked within the probate research and<br />

genealogy industry for the more than 15<br />

years and has specialised in private client<br />

genealogy for most of the last decade.<br />

Since 2015, Dominic has travelled across<br />

the UK & internationally speaking at legal<br />

conferences and meeting with private<br />

client practitioners to educate them on<br />

avoiding risk in estate administration. He<br />

is a qualified paralegal and a member of<br />

the Professional Paralegal Register.<br />

Mark Holt<br />

With a solid background in mathematics<br />

and accounting, Mark’s career in financial<br />

services began in 1996, leading to his<br />

role at Barclays Financial Management<br />

in 1998 and the setting up of his own IFA<br />

firm before joining Frenkel Topping in<br />

2010. Mark’s mathematical acumen has<br />

contributed to his rapid career progression<br />

and his success as the Chief Operating<br />

Officer of Frenkel Topping Group and<br />

Frenkel Topping Ltd, heading up the<br />

Litigation Support Team and as the<br />

leading expert in periodical payments and<br />

structured settlements within the industry.<br />

Mark is a distinguished influencer and<br />

educator in the Personal Injury arena,<br />

known for his expertise in financial matters<br />

related to large-claim cases. His work is<br />

pivotal in cases where the personal injury<br />

discount rate is instrumental in determining<br />

settlement sizes. His collaboration with<br />

premier chambers and stables across<br />

England and Scotland is a testament to the<br />

trust placed in his industry knowledge.<br />

Mark’s understanding of the discount<br />

rate’s impact, both from an industry-wide<br />

and macro-economic angle, is augmented<br />

by his role at Frenkel Topping, where<br />

he witnesses firsthand the effects of<br />

settlements on claimants with life-altering<br />

injuries. Frenkel Topping’s reputation as<br />

the authority on discount rate matters in<br />

personal injury claims reflects the firm’s<br />

unmatched depth of knowledge, bolstered<br />

by Mark’s guidance.<br />

20<br />

21


EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

Enjoy a career without<br />

limits, earning up to<br />

75% of your billing.<br />

Taylor Rose MW is a top 60 law firm with<br />

over 30 offices nationwide and we are<br />

seeking legal professionals that are keen to<br />

work on a consultancy, fee sharing basis.<br />

We are seeking likeminded individuals and<br />

groups of Solicitors, FCILEx or Licensed<br />

Conveyancers with 4 years PQE+ to join<br />

our consultant programme.<br />

We provide lawyers with a unique opportunity<br />

to thrive as part of our consultant arrangement,<br />

taking back control of their life and earnings in a<br />

smart, modern and supportive environment.<br />

You can choose to work from home, one of our<br />

offices or both!<br />

“The consultancy<br />

model has turned<br />

my career on its<br />

head. This model of<br />

working is superb.”<br />

Mark Quinn,<br />

Consultant Solicitor<br />

Why choose us?<br />

· Earn up to 75% of what you bill;<br />

minimum earning 70%<br />

· Choose your own clients, fees,<br />

hours and volume of work<br />

· Work from home, 100 days access<br />

to hot-desking facilities<br />

· PII cover up to £20 million<br />

· Free calls via our app<br />

· Access to nationwide offices and meeting rooms<br />

· Fully optimised CMS and electronic systems<br />

· Access to business development<br />

· Dedicated liaison team and technical head<br />

for ops, legal support and training<br />

To find out more, read our brochure or<br />

arrange a confidential call, please email<br />

consultantrecruitment@taylor-rose.co.uk<br />

or visit our website<br />

www.consultant-solicitor.co.uk<br />

Pioneering Environmental<br />

Concerns As A Top 60 <strong>Law</strong> Firm<br />

In today’s rapidly evolving world,<br />

evolutionary demands are placed on<br />

our systems at an ever-increasing<br />

rate. As we prioritise valuable<br />

resources, we must give due<br />

consideration to environmental and<br />

ethical impact alongside conventional<br />

benchmarks like risk and efficiency.<br />

Firms are under increasing client pressure<br />

to operate sustainably and ethically while<br />

ensuring their continuity. The legal industry<br />

can play a pivotal role in driving innovative<br />

solutions that strike a balance between<br />

critical aspects.<br />

Basic aspirations such as a paperless<br />

operation and reducing travel burden have<br />

not been overlooked. Technology has<br />

allowed us to streamline our operations<br />

and enhance efficiency, not just for our<br />

personnel but also for our clients by<br />

developing portals that they are able to<br />

access 24 hours, 365 days a year.<br />

Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation<br />

distinguishes between a leader and a<br />

follower”. A quote that is especially<br />

resonant when considering the<br />

heightened focus on Environmental,<br />

Social, and Governance (ESG) policy<br />

that has made it so important for the<br />

legal industry to innovate.<br />

This is not just a trend – it is a fundamental<br />

shift in how the legal industry operates and<br />

is evaluated by clients and stakeholders.<br />

In my role as the managing director of an<br />

award-winning digital compliance platform,<br />

I have seen firsthand how innovation<br />

can drive ethical solutions. Automation,<br />

for instance, can integrate with existing<br />

processes to streamline customer<br />

onboarding, improving client experience<br />

while trimming operational costs. Such<br />

platforms offer the capability to conduct<br />

real-time checks against global sanctions<br />

and watchlists, adding an extra layer of<br />

due diligence.<br />

Another way is by using AI to implement<br />

automated and secure identity verification<br />

to streamline our “Know Your Customer”<br />

Fraud Detection, and User Onboarding<br />

for home buyers online. The partnership<br />

that we have created with Onfido has<br />

had immediate results allowing clients to<br />

onboard to the point of an open live file<br />

in as little as 20 minutes, instead of having<br />

to arrange an appointment for the clients<br />

to come in for an ID check – therefore,<br />

helping our carbon footprint by making<br />

the process digital and easy access.<br />

But it’s not just about efficiency - it’s about<br />

responsibility. Anti-money laundering<br />

(AML) and compliance solutions can be part<br />

of a broader strategy that not only tackles<br />

compliance but also drives innovation.<br />

Digital compliance can help legal firms<br />

conduct due diligence while onboarding<br />

clients with the peace of mind that they<br />

are not “sleep walking” in to supporting<br />

damaging activities or unethical practices.<br />

The role of innovation extends to the<br />

development of new legal processes and<br />

formalised agreements that take ESG factors<br />

in to account. For example, smart contracts<br />

can be programmed to execute only when<br />

certain ethical and environmental criteria are<br />

met, automating compliance and reducing<br />

the risk of a breach.<br />

Data analytics capabilities can provide<br />

valuable insights into client behaviour<br />

and market trends. These insights can<br />

inform the development of new services<br />

At Taylor Rose MW, we actively monitor<br />

and publicly report on our carbon footprint<br />

through our statutory accounts. By doing<br />

this, we force ourselves to address the<br />

challenge head on. As a result, we are<br />

getting better and have executed many<br />

environmental changes within the firm<br />

to help reduce our carbon footprint. This<br />

includes initiatives such as a firm-wide<br />

paper light project, introduced followme<br />

printing and recycling our old IT<br />

equipment. This has resulted in reporting<br />

reducing carbon footprint relative to our<br />

turnover.<br />

We hope that leading by example<br />

reinforces credibility and authenticity when<br />

advising clients on matters.<br />

“Firms are under<br />

increasing client pressure<br />

to operate sustainably<br />

and ethically while<br />

ensuring their continuity.”<br />

Adrian Jaggard,<br />

CEO, Taylor Rose MW<br />

Innovate Or Stagnate<br />

To Lead In Legal Ethics<br />

and solutions that not only meet the strict<br />

requirements of the regulator, but also<br />

address the broader ethical concerns.<br />

Circling back to Steve Jobs’ insight,<br />

innovation is indeed what distinguishes<br />

leaders from followers. By integrating<br />

advanced compliance solutions that meet<br />

regulatory demands, legal firms can drive<br />

innovation and support the development<br />

of solutions that support a more<br />

sustainable, and ethical, legal industry.<br />

For more information please visit:<br />

www.smartsearch.com<br />

“This is not just a trend –<br />

it is a fundamental shift<br />

in how the legal industry<br />

operates.”<br />

Martin Cheek,<br />

managing director, SmartSearch<br />

23


EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

Paul Sams,<br />

Partner, Dutton Gregory<br />

Alex Holt<br />

Director of Business<br />

Development,<br />

The Cashroom<br />

HELLO<br />

LIVERPOOL!<br />

Having celebrated our Diamond Anniversary last year,<br />

we are proud to be one of the fastest-growing law firms<br />

in the South, and breaking new ground in the North.<br />

Dutton Gregory Solicitors has<br />

been providing award-winning<br />

client services and career<br />

opportunities in the legal<br />

profession for over 75 years.<br />

To find out more, visit<br />

www.duttongregory.co.uk<br />

WINCHESTER<br />

CHANDLER’S FORD<br />

BOURNEMOUTH<br />

NEW<br />

POOLE<br />

LONDON<br />

LIVERPOOL<br />

Leading<br />

By Example<br />

“In recent months, I have started to wonder if the<br />

main objection to environmentally friendly practices<br />

isn’t, in fact, the solution - price. We all know that<br />

clients want a five-star hotel service, but are only<br />

prepared to pay the price of cardboard box under<br />

a railway arch, but could this be used to help the<br />

promotion and adoption of the green agenda? Can<br />

we incentivise clients to adopt environmentally<br />

friendly ways of working? Why not offer reduced fees<br />

or discounts to clients who accept correspondence<br />

electronically, (reducing paper) are happy to have<br />

video meetings (reducing use of vehicles) or need<br />

legal support on issues of employment, manufacturing<br />

and transport that support a greener future?<br />

Perhaps more importantly, law firms should lead by example<br />

and start implementing sustainable practices within their own<br />

operations. This can include reducing paper usage, implementing<br />

recycling programs, and adopting energy-efficient technologies.<br />

Only companies that can demonstrate their own commitment<br />

to sustainability are in a position to encourage others. We could<br />

include sustainability clauses in client contracts and agreements,<br />

making it a requirement for those we represent to adhere to<br />

certain environmental standards.<br />

Once that is achieved, the next key element is education. <strong>Law</strong><br />

firms can organise workshops, webinars, or record videos to<br />

showcase the benefits of adopting environmentally friendly<br />

practices. They can also provide resources such as guides,<br />

checklists, and case studies to help clients understand the<br />

steps that can be taken to become more sustainable. We can<br />

partner with environmental organizations to provide clients with<br />

access to expertise and resources, helping clients understand<br />

the environmental impact of their practices and identify<br />

opportunities for improvement. I know I certainly benefited<br />

from hearing the range of speakers at the Momentum and 360<br />

Hub Liverpool Sustainability Conference I attend recently in<br />

Liverpool City Centre.<br />

By adopting these strategies, law firms can effectively<br />

encourage their clients to adopt more environmentally friendly<br />

practices. Through incentives, education and collaboration, law<br />

firms can play a vital role in promoting sustainability and driving<br />

positive change in the legal industry. I think it is increasingly<br />

something that clients are paying attention to, so should be<br />

seen as an investment in the future or else be left behind.”<br />

How can the legal industry<br />

contribute to the development<br />

of innovative legal solutions<br />

that address environmental and<br />

ethical concerns while ensuring<br />

business continuity?<br />

There’s a constant balancing act for law firms as they<br />

seek to address environmental and ethical concerns.<br />

There is the challenge of providing the best possible service to<br />

their clients. Clients’ demands have never been more exacting,<br />

with speed of communication and cost efficiency paramount.<br />

They must operate within strict regulatory guidelines and<br />

regimes, both sector specific and wider regulations such as<br />

GDPR and AML, which are part of an ever changing geopolitical<br />

landscape - constantly tightening and evolving.<br />

They are overwhelmed by technological advances- new practice<br />

management systems, data storage, paperless functionality and<br />

the ever increasing threats from cyber criminals. And don’t even<br />

get me started on the lawyers’ concerns about the likely impact<br />

of Artificial Intelligence!<br />

They face huge challenges around staffing and recruitment,<br />

exacerbated by the requirement for hybrid working from<br />

particular generations, with the inherent challenges of creating<br />

and maintaining a firm’s culture in those circumstances.<br />

Taking all these elements into account, and more, how on earth<br />

are they to address environmental and ethical concerns as well?<br />

Well…as with many things they need to begin by considering<br />

the steps they will have already, almost unknowingly, made.<br />

Using any practice management system will have brought about<br />

communication improvement and better processes generally<br />

from which their staff and their clients will have benefitted. The<br />

same tech enabled processes will almost certainly have enabled<br />

digital document storage and archiving, and paperless (or paper<br />

light) process adoption. Aside from being a cost saving move,<br />

the environmental benefits across the legal sector are huge.<br />

Many firms have now, as standard, inhouse CSR teams,<br />

focusing on societal improvements they can be part of. When<br />

recruiting Gen Y and Gen Z, a firm’s CSR approach will be a huge<br />

attraction- there is a desire among those generations to get<br />

involved with environmental and ethical issues, and some will be<br />

actively attracted to the firms that have the best opportunities for<br />

charity and environmental initiatives. These staff will in fact help<br />

drive the forward thinking that might otherwise be challenging.<br />

<strong>Law</strong> firms are not alone in facing these challenges, but from the<br />

work I’ve done judging many awards over recent years, I can say<br />

with certainty that these issues are deemed incredibly important<br />

by a growing number of firms. Their willingness to embrace<br />

this is in fact reaping benefits as they attract and retain better<br />

staff and as a result look to the future with a renewed and more<br />

steady confidence.<br />

25


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topping<br />

GROUP<br />

Environmental, Social, and Governance<br />

(ESG) or sustainability or ethical<br />

investing – myriad terms for being a<br />

socially conscious and ethical firm –<br />

has been core to Frenkel Topping for<br />

decades. Working in the personal<br />

injury space, all of our clients are<br />

‘vulnerable’ individuals, therefore our<br />

ethics and values are paramount in our<br />

work managing the financial futures<br />

for people after life-changing events.<br />

This commitment is deeply ingrained in<br />

our investment philosophy, managed<br />

by our Discretionary Fund Manager,<br />

Ascencia, which employs both positive<br />

and negative screening to identify<br />

those companies that excel in ESG<br />

practices, and those that fall short.<br />

Adhering to these core principles offers<br />

tangible benefits to clients, especially<br />

those who are environmentally and<br />

socially conscious.<br />

It’s fair to say we have been at the forefront<br />

of ethical investment – we pioneered one<br />

of the UK’s only true Shariah-compliant<br />

portfolios – and we have proven that safety<br />

and performance can go together – a<br />

sentiment encapsulated in the VT Freedom<br />

Defensive Fund which recently ranked #1<br />

out of 64 in the IA 0-35% shares category,<br />

a testament to the team’s unwavering<br />

commitment to safeguarding the interests<br />

of vulnerable clients, particularly in<br />

turbulent market scenarios.<br />

But our commitment to ESG extends<br />

beyond our investment portfolios. It is in<br />

the fabric of our business, in the services<br />

and products we create, in our behaviours<br />

and practices, our training and talent<br />

development plans and in our charitable<br />

work. In 2015 we created the Frenkel<br />

Topping Charitable Foundation to meet our<br />

duty not only to clients who have a claim<br />

but also to those who don’t.<br />

We are not merely creating robust financial<br />

futures; we are also building a legacy<br />

of trust, excellence, and unwavering<br />

commitment to clients’ financial wellbeing.<br />

We’re proof that financial acumen and<br />

ethical considerations can not only coexist<br />

but can deliver strong returns and have a<br />

positive impact on society.<br />

“Our commitment to<br />

ESG extends beyond our<br />

investment portfolios.”<br />

Mark Holt,<br />

COO, Frenkel Topping<br />

What Are The Potential Implications<br />

Of Greenwashing And How Can The<br />

Legal Industry Combat This Practice<br />

In today’s era of heightened<br />

environmental awareness,<br />

organisations are under increased<br />

scrutiny for their environmental<br />

claims. While many genuinely strive<br />

to reduce their environmental<br />

footprint, a concerning practice<br />

known as greenwashing has emerged.<br />

Greenwashing involves the deceptive<br />

exaggeration or falsification of a<br />

company’s environmental efforts to<br />

make it appear more environmentally<br />

conscious than it truly is. This unethical<br />

practice not only misleads consumers<br />

and investors but also undermines<br />

legitimate sustainability initiatives.<br />

Greenwashing takes various forms, including<br />

vague or unsubstantiated claims of being<br />

“green” or “eco-friendly,” the use of<br />

misleading labels and logos, and selective<br />

reporting of sustainability achievements. It<br />

erodes trust in corporate responsibility and<br />

can lead to financial and reputational harm<br />

for businesses and investors alike. However,<br />

the legal industry can play a pivotal role<br />

in ensuring that companies uphold their<br />

environmental responsibilities.<br />

<strong>Law</strong>yers can encourage companies to adopt<br />

transparent reporting practices, including<br />

third-party verification of environmental<br />

claims. Ensuring that sustainability reports<br />

adhere to recognised standards, such as<br />

the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or the<br />

Task Force on Climate-related Financial<br />

Disclosures (TCFD). The legal sector<br />

can also play a pivotal role in consumer<br />

education. By collaborating with consumer<br />

advocacy groups, they can educate the<br />

public about common greenwashing<br />

tactics and empower individuals to make<br />

informed choices that act as a deterrent to<br />

greenwashing.<br />

Corporate responsibility audits are another<br />

valuable approach. <strong>Law</strong>yers can collaborate<br />

with companies to conduct comprehensive<br />

audits of their sustainability practices,<br />

ensuring alignment with their public claims.<br />

This process can help identify and rectify<br />

any discrepancies between a company’s<br />

actions and its environmental messaging.<br />

Closer to home, lawyers can champion<br />

sustainable practices within their own<br />

firms and among their corporate clients.<br />

Encouraging ethical behaviour and<br />

responsible environmental stewardship can<br />

help prevent greenwashing from within<br />

and promote genuine sustainability.<br />

Through collective effort and a<br />

commitment to genuine sustainability, we<br />

can all contribute to a more transparent<br />

and accountable business environment<br />

that benefits both the planet and its<br />

inhabitants.<br />

Neville Dinshaw,<br />

Managing Director, <strong>Law</strong> Mergers<br />

& Acquisitions<br />

27


EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

Kathliya Harwood,<br />

Marketing Manager, Speech<br />

Processing Solutions<br />

Leveraging<br />

Technology To<br />

Minimise Your Digital<br />

Carbon Footprint?<br />

Many traditional firms can be resistant to change,<br />

especially when it comes to the adoption of new<br />

technology and digital transformation, however these<br />

businesses now compete on a battlefield shaped by<br />

time efficiency and a growing requirement to minimise<br />

carbon footprint.<br />

To ensure long-term survival and growth a firm must embrace<br />

transformation through technology; this enables them to spend<br />

less time on admin and more time serving and developing clients.<br />

One cost effective way to reduce administrative tasks and reduce<br />

a firm’s carbon footprint is to digitalise document creation.<br />

Digitisation has done wonders to help professionals do more<br />

with less. Advanced speech-to-text technology is one of<br />

the best examples of how innovation can meet the specific<br />

and unique needs of attorneys, as well as being good for<br />

the planet. In an industry that is by nature complex and<br />

detail-oriented, and that’s marked by intensive collaboration<br />

and documentation, it’s not hard to see how speech-to-text<br />

solutions can have significant positive impacts.<br />

For attorneys, voice technology enables collaboration with team<br />

members, efficient and uninterrupted workstreams, and easy<br />

reviews and approvals from leadership, etc. The next generation<br />

of legal leaders, who are digital natives, take advantage of<br />

working from their smartphones, using speech-to-text to send<br />

quick notes, or using voice applications as a backup to get work<br />

done outside the normal scope of support staff responsibilities<br />

or working hours (such as completing billing, communicating<br />

with clients, or recording reminders).<br />

For transcriptionists, legal assistants, documentation specialists,<br />

and other support staff, voice tech can accelerate timeconsuming<br />

tasks as well. For example, audio files routed<br />

through speech-to-text applications can generate draft<br />

documents, which can then be shared, reviewed, and edited<br />

as needed. Legal assistants can then cross-check and refine<br />

documentation, preparing it for sharing with clients.<br />

Additionally, with the advances in voice technology, professional<br />

speech recognition software is highly accurate, with up to 99%<br />

recognition rate, so there is hardly any need for document<br />

correction. While technology can’t add hours to the day, the<br />

right solution can help maximise those hours and reduce a<br />

firm’s carbon footprint in the process.<br />

Dave Seager,<br />

Consulting Adviser,<br />

Matrix Capital<br />

Is Your Supply Chain<br />

Ethically Compatible?<br />

‘A supply chain is a network of companies and people<br />

that are involved in the production and delivery of a<br />

product or service.’<br />

If you accept that the legal services and advice you offer a<br />

client, is frequently part of a wider sphere of professional<br />

advice required, then choosing who you work with is hugely<br />

significant. If you need to refer your client to a fellow<br />

professional for complementary needs, then that separate firm<br />

should be compatible with your own ethics and standards.<br />

When seeking to always ‘act in the client’s best interests,’ how<br />

can it be otherwise?<br />

The financial planning partners you select become part of your<br />

supply chain, and the advice they give your referred clients reflects<br />

on you. This is undoubtedly why solicitors have been cautious<br />

about making positive referrals, for fear of negative feedback, but<br />

choosing the right partner, having done rigorous due diligence will<br />

assuredly have the entirely opposite positive impact.<br />

One of the factors that put lawyers off making referrals for<br />

complementary financial advice in the past was of course,<br />

remuneration by commission. Whilst commission for retail<br />

investments was banned a decade ago, there may be a<br />

suspicion that an advice charge, whilst openly declared to a<br />

client but taken from the initial investment, is just commission<br />

in disguise.<br />

Certainly, there are still financial advisory firms who will set their<br />

advice charge as a percentage of the investment, which can<br />

lead to a far higher charge for larger amounts, when the time<br />

spent, and advice given is the same whether the investment<br />

is £100,000 or £1 million. Percentage or ad valorem fees also<br />

introduce unnecessary cross-subsidy and conflict of interest.<br />

However, there are a growing number of professional financial<br />

planning firms, Matrix Capital included, that only charge fixed<br />

or hourly rate fees for regulated advice that recognise the<br />

fiduciary relationship with their client.<br />

In the 2023 Legal Services Consumer Panel tracker survey,<br />

55% of the legal services customers surveyed had their final<br />

legal bill calculated on a fixed fee basis. With this, alongside<br />

the traditional hourly rate, becoming the norm, it would make<br />

perfect sense to seek financial planning partners who charge<br />

on a similar basis. The charge to your referred client should<br />

represent fair value for the experience, expertise, time, and<br />

complexity involved in the advice, and NOT by the amount of<br />

money to be invested.<br />

Therefore, when conducting due diligence on financial planning<br />

third parties, ensure that understanding their fee structure is a<br />

key criterion.<br />

29


Power of Together Survey<br />

New survey seeks to assess post COVID cultural and employee<br />

communication challenges in UK legal firms<br />

A new survey is launched this week by digital<br />

consultants Pancentric Digital and HUB, their<br />

leading intranet solution. It seeks to understand the<br />

cultural and employee communication challenges<br />

faced by UK <strong>Law</strong> Firms post COVID. The survey is<br />

supported by <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>.<br />

As the dust settles on hybrid working policies, global<br />

evidence is emerging of cultural and job motivation<br />

challenges across all types of businesses.<br />

According to research firm Qualtrics, job motivation<br />

jumped 10% during COVID but has since fallen to<br />

below pre-COVID levels.<br />

This new survey - called the Power of Together survey<br />

- seeks to understand the state of play in the UK legal<br />

sector specifically. It asks UK Legal Firms about their<br />

current policies on work from home, what impact post-<br />

COVID working policies are having on culture, team<br />

connection and individuals; and what impact is being<br />

felt on productivity and operations. Are their concerns?<br />

Are firms adopting new approaches to their internal<br />

comms? What are the priorities going forward?<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong> encourages leaders and<br />

managers across the legal sector to participate in the<br />

survey. The widest possible set of views is welcomed.<br />

The survey can be completed online by following this link:<br />

www.pancentric.com/the-power-of-together-survey<br />

and only takes a few minutes. <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

will publish the results later this year. A free copy<br />

of the full findings is available to all those that<br />

participate<br />

Pancentric Digital is committed to climate action and<br />

sustainable workplaces, so has partnered with the<br />

reforestation charity One Tree Planted to plant a tree<br />

for every survey response received.<br />

Plus, one lucky recipient will receive a yearly Flourishy<br />

subscription worth £160, to help transform their<br />

garden into a diverse haven for bees and wildlife.<br />

For more information visit:<br />

The Power of Together Survey | Pancentric Digital<br />

Simon Fenn, Director, Pancentric Digital<br />

Businesses are facing increasing<br />

pressure to minimise their<br />

environmental impact, and the<br />

legal industry is no different.<br />

But navigating a path towards a<br />

reduced carbon footprint shouldn’t<br />

be a challenge.<br />

One part of the solution is going<br />

paperless. A concept that some firms<br />

have enthusiastically embraced, others<br />

have only dipped their toes in. The thing<br />

is, going paperless creates so many more<br />

advantages that go beyond reducing your<br />

carbon footprint. It improves accessibility<br />

and drives productivity for firms – a winner<br />

all round.<br />

<strong>Law</strong> firms have traditionally used a lot<br />

of paper. Files fill cabinets and in-trays,<br />

documents are posted, and even scanned<br />

copies are stored away. A digitised<br />

conveyancing process is helping firms to<br />

almost, if not completely, remove paper<br />

from the process.<br />

EDITORIAL<br />

BOARD<br />

Digital Onboarding:<br />

Better For Productivity,<br />

Accessibility, And The Environment<br />

Let’s look at the benefits firms can access<br />

by taking their client onboarding process<br />

paperless.<br />

1. A reduced carbon footprint<br />

Client onboarding has been a typically<br />

paper-heavy process, with client care packs<br />

and forms being printed, posted, returned,<br />

and scanned in. It’s time consuming and<br />

uses a lot of resource, from reems of paper<br />

to the emissions created during the postal<br />

process. But firms using digital onboarding<br />

are ditching paper and drawn-out<br />

onboarding timeframes in favour of more<br />

environmentally friendly solutions.<br />

2. Improved accessibility<br />

Digital onboarding means clients can<br />

provide crucial information any time, from<br />

anywhere. Whether it’s in another county<br />

or another country, digital ID checks,<br />

source of funds checks, and electronic<br />

signatures are all more accessible and more<br />

secure online.<br />

3. Increased productivity<br />

Digital onboarding eliminates a lot of<br />

unnecessary admin. Printing, posting,<br />

scanning, and assigning those scanned<br />

files – it’s all time that could be better<br />

spent on more impactful tasks. Digitising<br />

the process lets technology take care of<br />

those bits so you have more time to focus<br />

on the things only experienced teams<br />

can do. Ultimately, you’ll see increased<br />

productivity among your teams by cutting<br />

out paper.<br />

Going paperless is not only going to<br />

improve the green credentials of your firm,<br />

but also have a lasting impact on your<br />

business and client relationships too.<br />

“One part of the solution<br />

is going paperless.”<br />

Bronwyn Townsend,<br />

Senior Marketing Manager, InfoTrack<br />

Debate and discuss the <strong>Law</strong><br />

Commission’s law of wills reform<br />

proposals in Manchester this month<br />

Later this month, Estate Research are<br />

delighted to be supporting an event<br />

debating the biggest reform proposals<br />

in the law of wills since 1837!<br />

On the afternoon of 23rd November,<br />

<strong>Law</strong> Commissioner Professor Nick<br />

Hopkins will be joined by a panel of<br />

Private Client experts, to discuss the <strong>Law</strong><br />

Commission’s wills project and its proposed<br />

supplementary consultation paper covering<br />

the topics of predatory marriage and<br />

digital wills.<br />

Will disputes and the increasing<br />

challenges of mental capacity issues are<br />

undoubtedly having a significant impact<br />

on the landscape of wills. This event<br />

will offer delegates the opportunity to<br />

debate whether it is time for the law to<br />

be modernised as the landscape shifts as<br />

well as influence the evolution of Wills &<br />

Probate legislation for future generations.<br />

Taking place in the heart of Manchester<br />

at John Rylands Rooftop terrace in<br />

Manchester Hall, the afternoon will offer<br />

real discussion and debate around these<br />

topics - with panel sessions and the<br />

inclusion of delegate questions throughout.<br />

Estate Research are honoured to be<br />

working alongside the <strong>Law</strong> Commission,<br />

STEP, Nicholson Jones Sutton Solicitors<br />

and Rothley <strong>Law</strong> in hosting this event. We<br />

look forward to welcoming 200 delegates<br />

to an event that has the rare yet real<br />

potential to shape fundamental wills<br />

legislation.<br />

Speakers include:<br />

• Professor Nicholas Hopkins, Commissioner<br />

for Property, Family and Trust <strong>Law</strong>, <strong>Law</strong><br />

Commission of England and Wales<br />

• Stephen <strong>Law</strong>son TEP, Head Of<br />

Contentious Probate at Nicholson<br />

Jones Sutton<br />

• Professor Robin Jacoby, Emeritus<br />

Professor-Old Age Psychiatry,<br />

University of Oxford<br />

• Helen Forster TEP, Director,<br />

HTF Legal Limited<br />

• Andrew Bishop, Partner, Rothley <strong>Law</strong><br />

• Julie Bell, Consultant, Read Roper and<br />

Read Solicitors<br />

• Dominic Hendry, Head of Private Client,<br />

Estate Research<br />

• Elis Gomer, Barrister, 5 Stone Buildings<br />

• Sarah Harrison, Barrister, Parklane<br />

Plowden Chambers<br />

This event is not to be missed and is<br />

completely free to attend! Places are<br />

limited and early registration via the STEP<br />

website is advised to avoid disappointment<br />

at: www.stepevents.org/event/cf388d71-<br />

ded9-4071-9a4a-c95cedb1e0ba/summary<br />

Dominic Hendry,<br />

Head of Private Client, Estate Research<br />

31


AWARDS<br />

AWARDS<br />

A Spectacular Night<br />

At The Circus:<br />

The conveyancing community<br />

came alive under the enchanting<br />

spell of the circus as the LEAP<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards<br />

2023 unfolded with a theme<br />

inspired by the magical worlds of<br />

Cirque Du Soleil and The Greatest<br />

Showman. It was a night of<br />

celebrating the outstanding talent<br />

within the conveyancing sector, the<br />

achievements of individuals, firms,<br />

and businesses, and the progress<br />

made that makes conveyancing an<br />

exciting and successful sector.<br />

Attendees were treated to a night of wonder and<br />

awe at The Rum Warehouse in Liverpool, with an<br />

elephant, a charismatic ringmaster, and a troupe<br />

of circus performers creating an outstanding<br />

atmosphere that matched the outstanding talent<br />

and excellence in the room.<br />

The venue was transformed into a mesmerising circus<br />

extravaganza, complete with umbrellas hung from<br />

the ceiling, and twinkling lights. As guests entered<br />

the venue, they were greeted by the sight of a lifesized<br />

animatronic elephant, a nod to the grandeur<br />

and mystique of the circus.<br />

Our evening began with the champagne reception<br />

sponsored by the brilliant Natalie Moore. A bell<br />

hung from a garden wall that when rung a glass of<br />

champagne would appear through the leaves. A living<br />

statue resided in the centre of the room surprising<br />

passers by with a sudden jolt.<br />

As guests entered The Rum Warehouse, they<br />

were greeted by a charismatic ring master and<br />

his elephant dancing to the anthems from The<br />

Greatest Showman. Upon the tables were top<br />

hats, clown noses, masks, and ring master coats,<br />

and of course our fan favourite recovery kits<br />

sponsored by Search Acumen. Inside there was<br />

everything from a morning coffee to a rubber duck<br />

for your recovery bath.<br />

The heart of the event was the awards ceremony,<br />

where legal professionals from across the<br />

conveyancing industry gathered to celebrate<br />

outstanding achievements and innovation. The night<br />

unfolded with all the drama and flair one would<br />

expect from a circus-themed event. Our host, the<br />

wonderful Jen Brister, guided the audience through<br />

the evening, introducing each award category and<br />

winner. With every winner came a roar of celebration<br />

and excitement.<br />

Throughout the evening, circus performers dazzled<br />

the audience with breathtaking acts. Acrobats soared<br />

through the air, and jugglers skilfully tossed their<br />

props in the air. It was a visual feast that added a layer<br />

of entertainment to the awards ceremony, making it<br />

a night to remember.<br />

One of the highlights of the evening was the<br />

inclusion of tarot and crystal reading, adding an<br />

element of mystique to the festivities. Attendees<br />

had the opportunity to sit down with <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong>’s<br />

very own psychic, Tracie, offering a unique and<br />

interactive experience that added an extra layer of<br />

intrigue to the event.<br />

As the night unfolded, awards were presented to<br />

exceptional individuals and firms who demonstrated<br />

excellence and innovation in the conveyancing field.<br />

Congratulations are in order for the winners who not<br />

only excelled in their respective categories but also<br />

contributed to raising the standards of the industry.<br />

32<br />

33


AWARDS<br />

AWARDS<br />

LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023 LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023<br />

The Highly Commended recipients also deserve<br />

recognition for their outstanding achievements and<br />

dedication to pushing the boundaries of what is<br />

possible in conveyancing.<br />

To all the nominees, whether victorious or not,<br />

your presence alone signifies your commitment<br />

to excellence. The competition was undoubtedly<br />

fierce, and the fact that you were nominated speaks<br />

volumes about the quality and impact of your work.<br />

The LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards are a<br />

testament to the collective dedication of the entire<br />

conveyancing community, and each nominee played<br />

a vital role in making the event a true celebration of<br />

industry achievements.<br />

A heartfelt thank you is due to the distinguished panel<br />

of judges who devoted their time and expertise to<br />

carefully evaluate each submission. Their commitment<br />

to maintaining the integrity of the awards and ensuring<br />

that only the most deserving individuals and firms were<br />

recognised is commendable. A Special thanks to our chair<br />

judge, Jeremy Raj, for all his hard work, and his excellent<br />

presenting skills for the Life Time Achievement Award.<br />

The success of the LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing<br />

Awards would not have been possible without<br />

the generous support of the sponsors. These<br />

organisations, driven by a commitment to excellence<br />

and innovation, have played a crucial role in making<br />

the event a resounding success.<br />

Their contributions not only underscore their<br />

dedication to the conveyancing industry but also<br />

highlight the importance of collaboration in driving<br />

positive change. Another special thanks to our<br />

headline sponsors, LEAP. We absolutely love working<br />

with you and the continued support you show us.<br />

As the awards ceremony drew to a close, the<br />

atmosphere shifted from formal recognition to<br />

unbridled celebration at our after party sponsored<br />

by Dye and Durham. The dance floor became the<br />

epicentre of joy and camaraderie. Colleagues,<br />

competitors, and friends joined together, celebrating<br />

not only the night’s winners but also the collective<br />

achievements of the conveyancing community.<br />

The LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023<br />

was a spectacular blend of legal outstanding<br />

achievements and circus-inspired entertainment.<br />

Congratulations to the winners, those who received<br />

Highly Commended, and all the nominees who<br />

continue to shape the future of conveyancing. A<br />

sincere thank you to the judges and sponsors for<br />

their invaluable contributions, and here’s to another<br />

year of pushing boundaries and achieving new<br />

heights in the world of conveyancing.<br />

See you all next year!<br />

34<br />

35


AWARDS<br />

AWARDS<br />

LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023<br />

LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023<br />

36<br />

37


AWARDS<br />

AWARDS<br />

MANAGING PARTNER OF THE YEAR INTERVIEW<br />

Mike Leeman<br />

Managing Director,<br />

Bell Lamb & Joynson<br />

What does this win mean to you and<br />

your firm?<br />

“The accolades are a reflection of the team, and<br />

not me personally. I am really passionate about the<br />

team succeeding both collectively and individually.<br />

Everyone in the team each plays their part in our<br />

success as a firm, and I can’t do what I do without<br />

all the brilliant and talented individuals around me<br />

from the cleaner to the other managing partners.<br />

We are constantly striving to be better and winning<br />

Managing Partner of the Year shows me that<br />

everyone at Bell Lamb & Joynson, from the top down,<br />

are doing something right. This award is for all of us,<br />

it’s not about me.”<br />

What is your ethos as managing partner?<br />

“It’s all about the team. We don’t have a hierarchy<br />

as such, we believe we are all equally important, and<br />

no role is less valued than another. We support each<br />

other at all times. All I do is surround myself with<br />

people who are better than me. We work hard to<br />

create that culture so we can collaborate, have fun,<br />

and thrive. Ultimately, it’s about doing the right thing,<br />

whether that be for colleagues, clients, or suppliers,<br />

always treat people with respect and do what you<br />

can for them. So, that’s my ethos really. I’m a people<br />

person, I love supporting and helping people. At the<br />

very least, lead with empathy.”<br />

What advice would you give to other<br />

managing partners?<br />

“A general piece of advice would be to lead with<br />

compassion. Have a vision and get everyone to<br />

buy into it. Make sure it is crystal clear what your<br />

objectives are, what you are trying to achieve and<br />

how you are trying to achieve it. As a consequence,<br />

if you get everyone onboard with that transparency<br />

people will all pull in the same direction. It’s all about<br />

compassionate leadership and getting people to buy<br />

into what you are doing and why.”<br />

This award was sponsored by the<br />

wonderful Groundsure, what does their<br />

support, and other companies support,<br />

mean to the industry?<br />

“The industry is full of really good people. It is full<br />

of great suppliers, great firms, and great businesses<br />

all driving innovations and finding ways to support<br />

the industry. Groundsure are the epitome of that.<br />

We have a great relationship with Groundsure, they<br />

support us, and nothing is too much trouble for<br />

them. They go out of their way to help, and I feel they<br />

are in line with my ethos with their helping attitude<br />

and can-do attitude. Groundsure collaborate so well<br />

across the industry and are really great at building<br />

relationships in what is a competitive industry.”<br />

What was your favourite moment from<br />

the evening?<br />

“I wish I could remember it! There is not one bit I<br />

could pinpoint as my favourite. The moment you<br />

walk through the doors at the LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong><br />

Conveyancing Awards it is just fun. From the first<br />

second right through to, normally for me, three,<br />

four, five o’clock in the morning. It’s a night full of<br />

fun, good people, good times, and good things. I<br />

would like to remember what it was like to win the<br />

Managing Partner of the Year award because I haven’t<br />

got a clue as I was in shock. It was nice to be told that<br />

there was lots of people in the room who had a nice<br />

reaction to the win. It was brilliant from the get-go.”<br />

“We have been involved with the MLCA<br />

for a number of years as the event is one<br />

of the highlights of the year. The Awards<br />

recognise the hard work and dedication of<br />

Conveyancers across the country. Sponsoring<br />

the outstanding commitment to training<br />

award is particularly important to us as<br />

it means we can support firms that align<br />

with our own company values of creating<br />

innovative training and development<br />

programmes, together with commitment to<br />

support and develop their departments and<br />

individuals within the firms.”<br />

“The awards this year were bigger and better<br />

than ever; specifically, they were very vibrant<br />

and entertaining. It was great to see so many<br />

industry colleagues together in one room and<br />

to have that opportunity to network with<br />

everyone; especially since the atmosphere was<br />

so jovial due to the theme of the evening.”<br />

Kelly McDonnell, National Sales Manager, CLS<br />

“We have worked with <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> for many<br />

years and see the MLCA event as one of the<br />

best in the conveyancing calendar, so we were<br />

thrilled to sponsor the Client Care category<br />

at this year's event because we recognise<br />

the pivotal role that exceptional customer<br />

service plays in the conveyancing industry. By<br />

supporting this category, we aim to celebrate<br />

and promote excellence in customer care and<br />

celebrate those who go above and beyond to<br />

ensure a positive and seamless experience for<br />

their clients during what can be a stressful<br />

time for some. Our commitment to this<br />

sponsorship reflects our dedication to fostering<br />

a culture of client-centricity and promoting<br />

best practices within the legal community.”<br />

“The event this year was the most<br />

extravagant we have seen yet. With full size<br />

animals and The Greatest Showman theme,<br />

it really was a spectacle to watch. Great<br />

night had by all!”<br />

Michael Connelly, Commercial Director, Legal Bricks<br />

(An Access Group Company)<br />

“The <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards is<br />

a great time for the industry to get together<br />

and celebrate the great achievements of<br />

companies and individuals alike. We at<br />

SearchFlow love being part of this night and<br />

sponsoring Rising Star of the Year, it’s really<br />

important for us to support and empower<br />

those in the conveyancing industry and this<br />

is a great event for us to be a part of.”<br />

“The theme of the evening was amazing, we<br />

were incredibly proud to have won search<br />

provider of the year, testament to the team’s<br />

hard work over the last year and we did love<br />

the live prosecco wall!”<br />

Sammi King, Senior Marketing Executive, Searchflow<br />

38<br />

39


AWARDS<br />

AWARDS<br />

LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards Results<br />

LEAP <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards Results<br />

Conveyancing Firm of the Year –<br />

North of England<br />

Sponsored by Perfect Portal<br />

JOINT HIGHLY COMMENDED - Farnworth Rose<br />

Solicitors AND Stephensons Solicitors LLP<br />

WINNER – Birchall Blackburn <strong>Law</strong><br />

Conveyancing Firm of the Year –<br />

Midlands<br />

Sponsored by Dev Assist Ltd<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Tinsdills Solicitors<br />

WINNER – Landsmiths Solicitors<br />

Conveyancing Firm of the Year –<br />

South of England<br />

Sponsored by DUAL Corporate Risks Ltd<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Thomas Legal<br />

WINNER – Stephen Rimmer LLP<br />

Conveyancing Firm of the Year – Wales<br />

Sponsored by InfoTrack<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - RJM Solicitors<br />

WINNER – Colin Jones Clarke & Hartland Solicitors<br />

National Conveyancing Firm of the Year<br />

Sponsored by Landmark Information Group Ltd<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Movera<br />

WINNER – Stephensons Solicitors LLP<br />

Residential Property Team of the Year<br />

Sponsored by The Cashroom<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Bell Lamb & Joynson Solicitors<br />

WINNER – Dutton Gregory Solicitors<br />

Commercial Property Team of the Year<br />

Sponsored by TM Group (UK) Ltd<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Stephensons Solicitors LLP<br />

WINNER – Lightfoots Solicitors<br />

Search Provider of the Year<br />

Sponsored by LMS Ltd<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - InfoTrack<br />

WINNER – SearchFlow<br />

Innovation of the Year<br />

Sponsored by Redbrick Solutions<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - InfoTrack<br />

WINNER – Groundsure<br />

Rising Star of the Year<br />

Sponsored by SearchFlow<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Laura Holmes -<br />

Grindeys Conveyancing<br />

WINNER – Alicia Hunter - Landsmiths Solicitors<br />

Service Provider of the Year<br />

Sponsored by Thorneycroft Solicitors Limited<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - InfoTrack<br />

WINNER – ntitle LTD<br />

Client Care Award<br />

Sponsored by Access Legal Group<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Landsmiths Solicitors<br />

WINNER – GA Solicitors<br />

Best Use of Technology<br />

Sponsored by Armalytix<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - MJP Conveyancing<br />

WINNER – The Partnership<br />

Outstanding Commitment to Training<br />

Sponsored by CLS Property Insight Limited<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Movera<br />

WINNER – Aconveyancing<br />

Mental Health & Wellbeing Award<br />

Sponsored by InCase<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Consortium More<br />

than Marketing<br />

WINNER – Aconveyancing<br />

Conveyancer of the Year<br />

Sponsored by PEXA<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Rachael McClean -<br />

Bell Lamb and Joynson Solicitors<br />

WINNER – Rebecca Fletcher - Stephensons Solicitors LLP<br />

Managing Partner of the Year<br />

Sponsored by Groundsure<br />

JOINT HIGHLY COMMENDED - Paul Dunlop - Blanchards<br />

Bailey LLP AND Stuart Forsdike - PCS Legal<br />

WINNER – Mike Leeman - Bell Lamb and Joynson Solicitors<br />

Business Development<br />

Professional of the Year<br />

Sponsored by TwentyCi Limited / TwentyConvey<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Lara Squires -<br />

Consortium More than Marketing<br />

WINNER – Rebecca Kelly - Taylor Rose MW<br />

Giving It Back Award<br />

Sponsored by Quill<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - MSB Solicitors<br />

WINNER – Birchall Blackburn <strong>Law</strong><br />

Best Workplace Award<br />

Sponsored by Ochresoft Technologies<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Bell Lamb &<br />

Joynson Solicitors<br />

WINNER – GA Solicitors<br />

Outstanding Employee of the Year<br />

Sponsored by Legal Eye Limited<br />

HIGHLY COMMENDED - Rebecca Fletcher -<br />

Stephensons Solicitors LLP<br />

WINNER – Kelly Barraclough - Symes Bains<br />

Broomer Solicitors<br />

Outstanding Achievement of the Year<br />

Sponsored by Dye & Durham<br />

WINNER – Amy Bell, Teal Compliance<br />

Lifetime Achievement Award<br />

Sponsored by LEAP<br />

WINNER – Kate Faulkner OBE<br />

Kindly sponsored by<br />

40<br />

41


AWARDS<br />

AWARDS<br />

HEADLINE SPONSOR INTERVIEW - LEAP<br />

Conveyancing made easy<br />

LEAP’s cloud-based practice management software simplifies the<br />

conveyancing process by providing everything you need to complete a<br />

transaction including:<br />

— Fully integrated searching<br />

— Sophisticated completion statements<br />

— A library of automated property forms<br />

Find out more at leap.co.uk/conveyancing<br />

Nicky Barker<br />

Marketing Manager,<br />

LEAP UK Group<br />

How has LEAP’s innovative approach<br />

to legal technology contributed to the<br />

evolution of conveyancing practices, and<br />

what specific features or solutions do<br />

you believe set LEAP apart in the legal<br />

software market?<br />

Producing highly innovative and powerful cloud<br />

software, LEAP supports conveyancing professionals<br />

by streamlining their day-to-day tasks. LEAP<br />

provides all the features, functionality and<br />

integrations required to complete a conveyancing<br />

transaction digitally and drives efficiency throughout<br />

the conveyancing process. It’s this continual<br />

development of our software over time, that sets<br />

LEAP apart in the legal software market.<br />

As the headline sponsor of the <strong>Modern</strong><br />

<strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2023, what<br />

role do you see LEAP playing in shaping<br />

the future of the conveyancing industry,<br />

and how does the company envision<br />

supporting and recognising excellence<br />

within the legal community?<br />

LEAP aims to be at the forefront of technology in<br />

the conveyancing industry through its continual<br />

innovation and ongoing enhancements.<br />

LEAP supports and recognises excellence in<br />

conveyancing through customer feedback,<br />

developing highly innovative solutions and new<br />

enhancements to help conveyancing professionals<br />

remain successful in what is a highly competitive<br />

market. Also, via the LEAP Best Practice Standard<br />

in conveyancing LEAP delivers a recognised<br />

accreditation to our customers promoting the use<br />

of technology to achieve conveyancing excellence.<br />

In an ever-changing legal landscape,<br />

how does LEAP stay ahead of emerging<br />

trends and technological advancements<br />

to ensure its software remains cuttingedge<br />

and continues to meet the evolving<br />

needs of legal professionals in the<br />

conveyancing sector?<br />

LEAP reinvests more than £13million a year in to<br />

research and development of the product to deliver<br />

the latest technology enhancements and provide the<br />

best practice management software in the world.<br />

LEAP is committed to the ongoing development of<br />

the solution so that it not only meets, but exceeds<br />

the ever evolving needs of legal professionals who<br />

work in conveyancing.<br />

The <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards<br />

celebrate achievements and innovation<br />

in the field. Can you share some success<br />

stories or notable examples where<br />

LEAP’s technology has made a significant<br />

impact on law firms’ efficiency, client<br />

service, or overall success in the realm of<br />

conveyancing?<br />

LEAP has revolutionised the way that Bell, Lamb<br />

and Joynson Solicitors manage their conveyancing<br />

matters. Since implementing LEAP they have seen a<br />

55% increase in turnover, increased numbers of staff,<br />

reduced postage costs by 53% and stationery by<br />

47%, and an overall reduction in costs on equipment<br />

and maintenance.<br />

LEAP are pleased to announce that we are sponsoring<br />

the <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> Conveyancing Awards 2024!<br />

42<br />

43


LEGAL<br />

TECH TALK<br />

Hi everyone and welcome to <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong>’s 2nd<br />

LegalTechTalk section, with a special focus on ESG.<br />

I’d like to kick things off with a short explanation of what LegalTechTalk aims to provide<br />

the legal industry, as you see, the name can be a little deceiving…<br />

LegalTechTalk stands for transformation of the legal profession, and whilst tech will play a<br />

crucial role in transforming the industry, we will be exploring ALL areas of transformation<br />

and tech is just a small part of this. We will be covering all areas of transformation within this<br />

section of the magazine over time - including people, processes, culture, data & analytics,<br />

regulatory compliance, change management, access to justice and much much more…<br />

In this issue, I’m lucky enough to be joined by the leading ESG experts from Europe and<br />

USA. We talk about how the role of GCs have evolved, how they are uniquely positioned to<br />

drive transformation in this area and overcoming the challenges in-house counsel are facing.<br />

Key takeaways for General Counsel leaders:<br />

• In-house lawyers are uniquely positioned to drive ESG initiatives within corporate<br />

organizations due to their strategic role in senior leadership, their ability to bridge silos,<br />

and their capacity to turn intentions into actions.<br />

• To implement ESG changes effectively, lawyers should address<br />

challenges related to time and capabilities. They can allocate time<br />

for ESG, build their ESG expertise, and start with achievable,<br />

specific actions.<br />

• General Counsels play a crucial role in ESG initiatives,<br />

from ensuring compliance with regulations to managing<br />

supply chain contracts and avoiding “greenwashing.”<br />

Please read ahead to receive key insights<br />

from Jane Pittaway and Christine Uri on the<br />

same topic of General Counsel<br />

ESG transformation<br />

Bradley Collins<br />

45


LEGAL<br />

TECH TALK<br />

Interview with Jane Pittaway<br />

Executive Chair - General Counsel Sustainability Leaders<br />

LEGAL<br />

TECH TALK<br />

Interview with Christine Uri<br />

ESG for In-house Counsel<br />

Bradley: Hi Jane, how has the legal<br />

role evolved when it comes to ESG?<br />

Jane Pittaway: C-suites are<br />

increasingly deciding that their<br />

legal departments are either<br />

partially or fully responsible for ESG<br />

(Environmental Social & Governance)<br />

compliance and governance. This<br />

has led to law firms setting up service<br />

lines and groups to support their<br />

clients.<br />

Governments worldwide are also<br />

issuing more and more regulation<br />

in response to increasingly complex<br />

global issues such as the climate and<br />

ecological emergency.<br />

Just as ESG itself has evolved over<br />

the years, so the role of lawyers<br />

has evolved and developed both<br />

generally and specifically in relation<br />

to ESG. It wasn’t so long ago that<br />

lawyers were “just lawyers” but over<br />

time they have evolved into trusted<br />

business advisors and strategic<br />

leaders working within multinational<br />

corporates and law firms in an<br />

increasingly global and complex<br />

landscape.<br />

The <strong>Law</strong> Society has recognised<br />

this by issuing its excellent climate<br />

guidance for solicitors which has<br />

clearly signposted the direction of<br />

travel for how the role of lawyers<br />

will continue to evolve in this area,<br />

particularly around climate.<br />

“You are all climate lawyers now,<br />

whether you want to be or not” was<br />

the powerful message from John<br />

Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy<br />

for Climate in his speech to the annual<br />

conference of the US equivalent of<br />

the <strong>Law</strong> Society, the ABA.<br />

Bradley: It’s interesting to see<br />

how lawyers’ roles have evolved<br />

when it comes to ESG. Given this<br />

transformation, can you elaborate<br />

on why in-house lawyers are<br />

particularly crucial in driving<br />

ESG initiatives within corporate<br />

organisations<br />

Jane: GCs and their teams operate<br />

at the intersection of business and<br />

law. General Counsel and Chief Legal<br />

Officers are more than lawyers – they<br />

are key strategic members of the<br />

senior leadership team. They have<br />

a helicopter view of their business.<br />

They are great at working across silos<br />

and horizon scanning. GCs and CLOs<br />

are perfectly placed to take ESG<br />

leadership by using their role and<br />

their obligation to be professionally<br />

curious. To ask the “what if”<br />

questions and go from there.<br />

In short, they are uniquely placed<br />

to ensure that the good intentions<br />

and word of their organisations are<br />

turned into action.<br />

Even when considering risk,<br />

it is not all about zooming in<br />

and implementing detailed risk<br />

management procedures. It is<br />

equally important to zoom out and<br />

look at the overall enterprise risk –<br />

joining the dots and bridging silos.<br />

It is important to remember it is not<br />

all about managing risk – for any<br />

company it Is also a risk to not spot<br />

rising opportunities and getting left<br />

behind. Identifying vulnerabilities<br />

needs a focus on reward as well as<br />

risk. Just think Blockbuster vs Netflix.<br />

Inhouse teams, led by their GCs, are<br />

crucial to the processes of managing<br />

risks, identifying vulnerabilities,<br />

bridging silos and joining dots.<br />

Bradey: Thanks for the eye-opening<br />

insights Jane. Given the unique<br />

position of General Counsel, what<br />

do you see as the most significant<br />

challenge they face when trying to<br />

implement these changes, and do<br />

you have any suggestions on how<br />

they can effectively overcome these<br />

challenges?<br />

Jane: We have seen many lawyers<br />

gain considerable value from leaning<br />

into ESG issues, and they do this by<br />

dealing with the two big challenges:<br />

time and capabilities.<br />

All lawyers feel lack of time is one<br />

of the biggest challenges. There<br />

are various different ways to<br />

address that issue from building<br />

time into your diary weekly to<br />

focus on ESG, to outsourcing<br />

other work to focus on this area, to<br />

putting together a business case<br />

for more ESG-focused resource.<br />

<strong>Law</strong>yers also need to build their<br />

capabilities and they need to do<br />

so quickly. Possibly the biggest<br />

challenge is simply taking that<br />

first step.<br />

If any lawyer wanted to start this<br />

week, I’d say don’t do everything at<br />

once – pick say a couple of actions<br />

to start with and focus on them. The<br />

key thing is to choose something<br />

which is additional to what you<br />

already doing and ambitious for you<br />

but not a massive leap (or you might<br />

find it too overwhelming).<br />

It should be specific, and you should<br />

give yourself a deadline for achieving<br />

it. Also ensure you’ve worked the<br />

intermediate steps in furtherance of<br />

your goal to help create and build<br />

momentum.<br />

Many lawyers in private practice and<br />

inhouse are building value via ESG:<br />

you can join them.<br />

Start from where you are today and<br />

build from there.<br />

Bradley: Hi Christine, how has<br />

the legal role evolved with respect<br />

to ESG?<br />

Christine: It is an area that is rapidly<br />

changing. Traditionally, in-house<br />

counsel has not been heavily involved<br />

in the environmental aspects of an<br />

organisation. These matters were<br />

typically handled by sustainability<br />

experts, facilities personnel, or other<br />

individuals within the organisation.<br />

However, there is a growing body<br />

of regulations coming into effect,<br />

such as the Corporate Sustainability<br />

Reporting Directive (CSRD) in<br />

Europe. Additionally, there is an<br />

increase in ESG-related litigation,<br />

particularly greenwashing litigation.<br />

The UK is a hotbed for such litigation,<br />

as evidenced by the recent cases<br />

against Shell Oil. As ESG becomes a<br />

more prominent legal topic, general<br />

counsel are being forced to get<br />

involved, whether they want to or not.<br />

In short, the legal role in ESG has<br />

evolved from a back-office support<br />

function to a front-line advisory<br />

role. General counsels are now<br />

responsible for ensuring that their<br />

organisations are compliant with<br />

ESG regulations and that they<br />

are not exposed to ESG-related<br />

litigation. This requires a deep<br />

understanding of ESG issues, as well<br />

as the ability to advise on how to<br />

mitigate ESG risks.<br />

Bradley: Could you elaborate<br />

on the key role general counsel<br />

play in driving ESG initiatives for<br />

corporates, and what specific<br />

responsibilities they should<br />

undertake in this area.<br />

Christine: Absolutely, the role<br />

of in-house lawyers and general<br />

counsel in ESG initiatives is pretty<br />

significant. It can vary depending on<br />

their leadership style. Some general<br />

counsel, either because they’re really<br />

into ESG or due to their organization’s<br />

structure, take ESG and sustainability<br />

under their wing. Around 15% of<br />

general counsel do this, according<br />

to a study by Corporate Council<br />

and Morrison Forster. For example,<br />

when I was the Chief Legal and<br />

Sustainability Officer, I did both legal<br />

and sustainability work.<br />

In this setup, general counsel<br />

needs to have a strong team of<br />

sustainability experts to make<br />

it work. But the more common<br />

approach is to collaborate with<br />

departments leading sustainability<br />

and ESG efforts, which could be<br />

in finance, strategy, or elsewhere.<br />

Regardless of where it falls, general<br />

counsel makes sure legal aspects<br />

align with ESG goals.<br />

They deal with various legal aspects<br />

of ESG, like keeping an eye on new<br />

regulations and getting the company<br />

ready to comply. Supplier contracts<br />

are a big deal because many<br />

sustainability rules require data from<br />

suppliers. Legal teams need to update<br />

contracts for this and ensure suppliers<br />

follow ethical practices, like labour<br />

and human rights policies. In Europe,<br />

they’re pretty strict about this.<br />

Managing the supply chain is a big<br />

task, especially with lots of contracts<br />

to handle. And there’s also the issue<br />

of “greenwashing” – making sure<br />

a company’s sustainability claims<br />

are legit. I’d suggest reviewing the<br />

company website and press releases<br />

carefully if a General Counsel asked<br />

me about this. Sometimes, statements<br />

get made without full consideration,<br />

which can lead to legal troubles.<br />

Nowadays, activists are keeping<br />

a close eye on companies’<br />

sustainability claims, and it’s<br />

important to review all statements<br />

for accuracy and to avoid legal risks.<br />

Even true bold claims can bring their<br />

own risks, so you’ve got to think<br />

them through.<br />

Bradley: Thanks for shedding a light<br />

on this Christine. Can you delve<br />

deeper into the key challenges<br />

faced by General Counsels when<br />

implementing these changes within<br />

their organisations?<br />

Christine: Sure, Bradley. The<br />

paramount challenge for General<br />

Counsels in this context is the<br />

deeply cross-functional nature<br />

of ESG and sustainability<br />

initiatives. While General Counsels<br />

can lead and offer guidance<br />

on these initiatives, bringing<br />

them to fruition demands<br />

collaboration and commitment<br />

from various departments across<br />

the organisation. This requires<br />

engagement from operations,<br />

finance, marketing, sales, product<br />

development, and, of course, the<br />

sustainability team if one exists. In<br />

essence, it’s a large-scale crossfunctional<br />

project that necessitates<br />

bringing together stakeholders<br />

who may not directly report to the<br />

General Counsel but are integral to<br />

the implementation process.<br />

Another significant hurdle is the<br />

matter of budgeting. Implementing<br />

ESG and sustainability initiatives<br />

typically requires financial resources.<br />

Thus, General Counsels must<br />

navigate the process of presenting<br />

budget proposals to the executive<br />

team and securing the necessary<br />

financial support for these<br />

endeavours. Finding ways to allocate<br />

the appropriate budget becomes an<br />

essential part of the challenge.<br />

So, in summary, the most formidable<br />

obstacles lie in garnering crossfunctional<br />

support and obtaining the<br />

required budgetary approvals.<br />

46 47


FEATURE<br />

FEATURE<br />

A Night of Hollywood Glamour:<br />

The Frenkel Topping Ball for Charity<br />

”On the 5th of October, the Frenkel Topping Charitable Foundation hosted a<br />

spectacular event that will be etched in the memories of all who attended. The<br />

Frenkel Topping Ball, an annual fundraiser, brought together the glitterati of<br />

Manchester and beyond, all donned in their best Hollywood Glamour attire. This<br />

grand evening was filled with entertainment, games, and celebrities dressed as iconic<br />

film characters, creating an enchanting atmosphere that left everyone in awe.”<br />

The theme for the Frenkel<br />

Topping Ball this year was<br />

“Hollywood Glamour,” and<br />

attendees truly embraced the<br />

spirit of classic Tinseltown. As<br />

guests arrived at the Midlands Hotel in<br />

Manchester, they were greeted by a red<br />

carpet, paparazzi, and the unmistakable<br />

allure of Hollywood.<br />

The dress code was black tie and elegant<br />

Hollywood attire, and attendees took this<br />

to heart, adorning themselves in glamorous<br />

gowns, tuxedos, and classic Hollywood<br />

accessories. The Frenkel Topping Ball was<br />

not just an event; it was a journey back in<br />

time to the golden era of cinema.<br />

To keep the evening engaging and<br />

entertaining, the Frenkel Topping Ball<br />

featured a variety of games. One of<br />

the highlights was the popular game of<br />

“Heads and Tails.” This game created a<br />

buzz as guests gathered in anticipation<br />

of winning exciting prizes.<br />

Scratch cards were another thrilling<br />

game offered at the event. Attendees<br />

could purchase these cards and scratch<br />

away to reveal their prizes. These cards<br />

were a delightful way for guests to<br />

contribute to the charitable cause while<br />

also having the opportunity to win<br />

fantastic rewards.<br />

“Beyond the glitz and glamour, the Frenkel Topping<br />

Ball was a celebration of compassion and giving.”<br />

One of the most extraordinary aspects<br />

of the Frenkel Topping Ball was the<br />

presence of iconic film characters<br />

brought to life. Guests were treated to<br />

the sight of Deadpool, Marilyn Monroe,<br />

the Hulk, and Austin Powers among<br />

others, roaming the venue and adding to<br />

the magical atmosphere of the evening.<br />

These character actors went above and<br />

beyond, staying in character throughout<br />

the event and posing for photographs<br />

with star-struck attendees.<br />

While the Frenkel Topping Ball was an<br />

evening filled with glitz and glamour,<br />

it was also an event with a profound<br />

purpose – to raise funds for the Frenkel<br />

Topping Charitable Foundation. The<br />

foundation’s mission is to support those<br />

who have suffered life-changing injuries<br />

and provide them with the necessary<br />

financial support for their future.<br />

The evening’s success was measured not<br />

just by the stunning attire and celebrity<br />

appearances but by the generous<br />

contributions from attendees and the<br />

funds raised for this noble cause. Every<br />

game, raffle ticket, and donation made<br />

a difference in the lives of those who<br />

needed it most.<br />

As the night unfolded, it became<br />

clear that the Frenkel Topping Ball<br />

had achieved its goal. It was a night<br />

filled with entertainment, elegance,<br />

and the magic of Hollywood’s<br />

golden age. Guests revelled in the<br />

enchanting atmosphere and cherished<br />

the opportunity to dress up as their<br />

favourite film characters.<br />

“Congratulation to Frenkel Topping for putting on such a wonderful evening<br />

and raising a staggering £28,000.”<br />

More importantly, the event was a resounding success in terms<br />

of fundraising for the Frenkel Topping Charitable Foundation.<br />

The contributions made that evening would go a long way in<br />

assisting those in need, providing them with financial support,<br />

and ultimately improving their quality of life.<br />

The Frenkel Topping Ball on the 5th of October was a night that<br />

perfectly captured the essence of Hollywood glamour. It was an<br />

evening of elegance, entertainment, and charity, all combined<br />

into one unforgettable event. The iconic film characters<br />

that graced the occasion, the games that added a touch of<br />

excitement, the splendid prizes, the delightful food and drink,<br />

and the lively dance floor all came together to create a night to<br />

remember.<br />

But beyond the glitz and glamour, the Frenkel Topping Ball was<br />

a celebration of compassion and giving. It exemplified the power<br />

of coming together to make a difference in the lives of those who<br />

have faced adversity. In the end, this was the true Hollywood<br />

magic of the night, leaving everyone with a sense of fulfilment<br />

and a reminder that, in the spirit of Hollywood’s best, we can all<br />

be heroes in our own way.<br />

Congratulation to Frenkel Topping for putting on such a<br />

wonderful evening and raising a staggering £28,000 for their<br />

charitable foundation. A standing ovation is deserved!<br />

Emily Wade,<br />

Editor, <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> <strong>Magazine</strong><br />

48 49


WILLS<br />

& PROBATE<br />

WILLS<br />

& PROBATE<br />

A Wills & Probate Interview:<br />

Ochresoft and<br />

the Environment<br />

<strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong> sat down with Ochresoft’s Marie Harrison-Stradling for<br />

a chat about how the wills and probate sector tackle climate change<br />

and make positive steps to impove the environment.<br />

How can the wills and probate industry contribute to<br />

environmentally responsible practices and raise awareness<br />

about ethical considerations within estate planning?<br />

With the United Kingdom’s recent introduction of water cremation (known as<br />

Resomation) as a third choice after end of life, joining the more traditional burial<br />

and cremation approaches established by the Cremation Act 1902, the theme of<br />

this month’s roundtable questions is most topical and pertinent.<br />

The resulting media coverage has prompted the public to consider at<br />

greater depth, the quite surprising sustainability and ecological impact of<br />

the traditional methods of dealing with their remains after death. With the<br />

public also now more aware of climate change generally, people are actively<br />

engaging in the environmental and ethical impact of their day-to-day<br />

consumer choices and spending. This gives the wills and probate industry a<br />

real opportunity to mitigate climate change in some small way. By working<br />

together and sharing knowledge and information across the sector, we<br />

can appropriately advise individuals as they explore their plans to<br />

deal with their estate after death.<br />

Whether or not clients choose a more eco-friendly or ethical<br />

method of dealing with their estate posthumously, as wills and<br />

probate professionals, we can raise awareness and make a positive<br />

contribution to their decision making.<br />

“As an industry, we are able to advise and<br />

draw awareness to how climate change and<br />

global warming could affect our clients.”<br />

“Climate change and global<br />

warming will impact thewills<br />

and probate sector as much as it<br />

will across all areas of business<br />

and commerce.”<br />

What potential issues might arise in<br />

the wills and probate sector due to the<br />

impact of global warming.<br />

Climate change and global warming will impact the<br />

wills and probate sector as much as it will across<br />

all areas of business and commerce – and societies<br />

globally. Climate change knowledge and awareness<br />

will need to be a primary consideration for all<br />

parties in estate planning and distribution, from the<br />

general consumer to the legal practitioner to the<br />

personal representative and/or trustees involved in<br />

an estate.<br />

As an industry, we are able to advise and draw<br />

awareness to how climate change and global<br />

warming could affect our clients in their planning.<br />

• Certain client asset types might face increased<br />

risk and be more vulnerable to environmental<br />

change, due to their nature and/or location.<br />

• Other asset types at greater risk of natural<br />

disasters and environmental occurrences may<br />

now need increased protective measures and<br />

suitable insurances<br />

• Climate change events and environmental<br />

opinions can swiftly and significantly affect<br />

the value of assets and investments. Legal<br />

professionals may need to review and refresh<br />

more frequently the planning advice for estates<br />

comprising agricultural and/or commercial assets.<br />

“As wills and probate<br />

professionals, we can raise<br />

awareness and make a<br />

positive contribution.”<br />

How can wills and probate practitioners<br />

promote sustainable practices in the<br />

administration of estates, including<br />

the management of real estate and<br />

investments?<br />

To successfully promote sustainable and<br />

environmentally favourable practices with our<br />

clients and the public more widely, it is in our<br />

industry’s interest to communicate clear and<br />

transparent information between organisations.<br />

Helping clients to equip themselves with and<br />

understand information about their posthumous<br />

estate options and the ethical and environmental<br />

impact of each will enable them to make<br />

informed choices.<br />

During the early stages of estate administration<br />

– as part of the initial client information discovery<br />

– practitioners should take the opportunity to<br />

prompt their new or existing clients and connected<br />

third parties to explore the sustainable and ethical<br />

practices available to them. This gives clients and<br />

connected third parties the opportunity to discuss<br />

their interest and ideas with a knowledgeable<br />

professional. At this point, and using information<br />

sheets and openly available resources,<br />

practitioners can remove myths, clarify confusions<br />

and help their clients make estate choices they are<br />

comfortable with.<br />

Unsurprisingly, immediate and future costs<br />

are usually clients’ and third parties’ primary<br />

consideration when they explore their posthumous<br />

options. That is, however, not necessarily the case;<br />

favouring sustainable practices does not cost<br />

the estate or individual as much as the public<br />

commonly expects.<br />

Whether or not clients and connected third parties<br />

select sustainable or ethical practices during<br />

the administration of an estate, by promoting<br />

the existence and accessibility of alternative<br />

options that are better for society and our planet,<br />

practitioners contribute to a brighter future.<br />

Marie Harrison-Stradling<br />

50 51


FORUM<br />

Conveyancing in 2023<br />

Empowering legal<br />

experts to navigate<br />

climate change<br />

challenges.<br />

Landmark Information not only offer<br />

climate change reports but also<br />

sustainability consultancy.<br />

A Forum Discussion<br />

Welcome to <strong>Modern</strong> <strong>Law</strong>’s Special Conveyancing Panel!<br />

This section of the magazine is dedicated to delving deep into the conveyancing profession<br />

with the help of industry-leading experts. In this particular edition, we discuss: the<br />

environmental challenges conveyancers face, encouraging clients to think green, accessing<br />

the information needed to create a more sustainable business and much more.<br />

This issue’s opinions are from:<br />

David Kempster<br />

Marketing Director,<br />

Groundsure<br />

Mike Leeman<br />

Managing Partner,<br />

Bell Lamb & Joynson<br />

Chris Loaring<br />

Managing Director,<br />

Landmark Search<br />

Paul Saunders<br />

Director Lender<br />

Services, Smoove<br />

Thomas Maerz<br />

CEO,<br />

TMGroup<br />

Our CPD-accredited sustainability training workshops cover a range of<br />

essential topics, catering to professionals at different stages of their<br />

sustainability journey:<br />

1. Climate Change Courses: These sessions provide a<br />

solid foundation in understanding climate change, its legal<br />

framework, and its implications across industries. By the<br />

end of the course, you’ll be well-prepared to advise your<br />

clients confidently.<br />

2. Net Zero Workshops: Designed for those embarking on<br />

their net-zero journey, these workshops guide you through<br />

the intricacies of recording, compliance, and setting<br />

science-based targets.<br />

3. TCFD Workshops: For firms looking to disclose<br />

climate-related risks and opportunities, our TCFD workshops<br />

offer the knowledge to understand financial exposure and build<br />

resilience for the future.<br />

4. ESG Workshop: If you’re involved in ESG due-diligence for<br />

corporate transactions or advise on mergers and acquisitions,<br />

these workshops are tailored to meet your needs, including<br />

those with private equity and investment clients.<br />

For more information visit<br />

landmark.co.uk/sustainability-training-services<br />

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What challenges do Conveyancers encounter when trying to assess and<br />

convey information about a property’s environmental impact?<br />

Mike: Conveyancers can often struggle to communicate the<br />

environmental factors of a property to Buyers as they are<br />

reliant on limited data regarding energy efficiency, flooding<br />

risks, contamination, and other sustainability metrics. Terms like<br />

“eco-friendly” are subjective, making a property’s true impact<br />

difficult to quantify and Conveyancers must also contend with<br />

frequently changing regulations. Researching and documenting<br />

environmental features requires substantial extra time and effort<br />

compared to a standard transaction. Many Conveyancers are<br />

unwilling or unable to conduct this due diligence as they are not<br />

qualified to do so. While consumer demand is growing for more<br />

transparency around homes sustainability, Conveyancers continue<br />

to face obstacles in providing accurate assessments and clear<br />

reporting on properties’ environmental footprints. Overcoming<br />

these challenges will require better data sources and standardised<br />

methodologies which will assist Conveyancers when reporting<br />

complex environmental information to Buyers.<br />

Thomas: Buyers are often in a hurry to move in, and as a result,<br />

there is a risk they may gloss over the details highlighted in searches<br />

and reports on Title, making themselves vulnerable to risk. While<br />

conveyancers aren’t expected to be specialist environmental<br />

consultants, they should still be aware of their obligations to<br />

facilitate relevant information to the client, explain the due<br />

diligence process, advise and draw their client’s attention to risks, in<br />

a meaningful way, so that the client can make an informed decision<br />

whether or not to proceed with their property purchase.<br />

Until recently, conveyancers’ focus would have been centred<br />

around contaminated land, mining risks and flooding. However,<br />

there are many more environmental factors that clients should<br />

be made aware of, such as all types of ground hazards, local and<br />

national energy and infrastructure projects that could negatively<br />

affect the site, as well as Government-imposed regulations<br />

related to adverse impacts of climate change, which could cause<br />

a transactional risk to clients in the future. Taking into account<br />

the scope of the retainer as well as the latest guidance from the<br />

regulators and PI insurers law firms should be in a position to<br />

strike a good balance between alerting clients to the existence of<br />

an environmental risk and limiting any unintended risk exposure<br />

for the law firm itself.<br />

David: The market for environmental data is very mature, easily<br />

accessible and delivers answers quicker than many other parts of<br />

the property search due diligence process. So, speed and access<br />

via search resellers, for example, isn’t the issue. The key point for<br />

conveyancers is ensuring that reports are fully comprehensive, cover<br />

all of the guidance and practice notes to meet compliance and are<br />

available in single reports so that the process is simple, there is<br />

demonstrable value and all the answers are in one place - whether<br />

contaminated land, flooding, subsidence, forward climate impacts -<br />

both physical and transitional. This protects the client and the firm.<br />

Chris: Traditionally, the industry has built risk management<br />

processes around how the environment – such as a flood zone –<br />

might impact a property. Now, a more holistic view has evolved<br />

where it’s also considered how a property might impact its own<br />

environment. This shift has been driven by both legislation<br />

and emerging guidance from the regulators. A key feature<br />

of this holistic approach is projecting and charting risk in the<br />

future. Until recently, environmental risk management has been<br />

predicated on what is happening today, i.e. on the date of the<br />

transaction completion. Increasingly, we are now aware of how<br />

those risks change into the future (for example, over the term of<br />

a mortgage deal) and these insights are powering consideration<br />

of a new time horizon in conveyancing. The concept of charting<br />

risk into the future is an ever-growing transition and a relatively<br />

new space for conveyancers – which makes it particularly<br />

challenging. Guidance published by the <strong>Law</strong> Society earlier this<br />

year marked the first-time conveyancers had received any official<br />

steer on this topic. Therefore, the sector now needs to understand<br />

where a conveyancer’s work starts and stops. For example, with<br />

most transactions major lending decisions based on climate<br />

change considerations have been made before the conveyancer<br />

is involved. Part A of The <strong>Law</strong> Society’s guidance deals with<br />

Net Zero and embedding broader sustainability considerations<br />

within the law firm. Now, the sector is facing an implementation<br />

challenge, and we need to support and help upskill the law firms<br />

on this new area of environmental risk management, so that they<br />

can make best use of the data insights and guidance. The next<br />

wave of environmental guidance from the <strong>Law</strong> Society could go<br />

one step further and answer the main question on everyone’s<br />

minds: what specific actions will conveyancers need to take and<br />

what new liabilities are emerging?<br />

Paul: One of the biggest challenges in relation to the<br />

environmental impact of information is the level of the client’s<br />

awareness. Each client will have a varying level of awareness and<br />

expectation regarding the impact of the environmental issues<br />

around a property, particularly where there is a complex land use<br />

history. Some properties may have a complex history of land use,<br />

including industrial or agricultural activities that could have left<br />

behind environmental contamination. It can be challenging to<br />

trace and document this history accurately.<br />

This is a particularly fast-moving area of law and the nature of the<br />

law and regulation is relatively early in its development therefore<br />

staying up to date in this area is particularly challenging to ensure<br />

that the client and lender are protected, much of the time it is<br />

knowing where to go to get the advice or information rather than<br />

knowing all of the answers.<br />

What measures can Conveyancers take to raise awareness among<br />

Clients and colleagues about the importance of environmental<br />

sustainability in real estate transactions?<br />

Thomas: Buyers are often more concerned about whether any<br />

environmental issues raised will have an immediate bearing on<br />

the value of their investment in terms of both property insurance<br />

and its resale value or whether it may have an impact on their<br />

enjoyment of the property, for instance in the event of flooding.<br />

However, environmental sustainability is crucial in real estate<br />

transactions for a number of reasons and the benefits should be<br />

openly promoted to clients and internal teams.<br />

A good starting point is the long-term value and increasing<br />

market demand. Sustainable properties are often far more resilient<br />

and can increase in value over time. Eco-conscious buyers and<br />

investors are also increasingly looking for properties that have<br />

lower operating costs due to energy efficiency and a reduced<br />

environmental footprint.<br />

From the law firms’ perspective embracing sustainability practices<br />

also demonstrates a commitment to reducing their own impact<br />

and contributing to a more sustainable future. This could be<br />

positively leveraged as a unique differentiating factor in a<br />

competitive market.<br />

To help raise awareness, law firms could explore facilitating internal<br />

and external workshop sessions as well as provide a library of easily<br />

accessible resources that can be shared with clients and other<br />

external audiences. Thought leadership in this area will not only<br />

help raise awareness of this important subject but can be equally<br />

beneficial to help raise the external profile of the law firm itself.<br />

“To help raise awareness, law firms<br />

could explore facilitating internal and<br />

external workshop sessions as well<br />

as provide a library of easily<br />

accessible resources.”<br />

“There is a clear duty of care for<br />

conveyancers to advise clients on<br />

matters that could affect the transaction<br />

and the impact on the asset, value or<br />

the client’s peace of mind. ”<br />

David: There is a clear duty of care for conveyancers to advise<br />

clients on matters that could affect the transaction and the<br />

impact on the asset, value or the client’s peace of mind.<br />

Increasingly important are environmental and social governance<br />

(ESG) factors that could affect a firm’s operation, which are<br />

getting the attention of the SRA, COLPs and form part of the <strong>Law</strong><br />

Society Guidance on Climate Risks.<br />

By ensuring a consistent approach to advising clients on the<br />

climate risks that could impact on the transaction through<br />

commissioning environmental searches that include climate risk<br />

- including physical risks like flooding and transitional risks like<br />

energy ratings, improvement costs and resilience measures - this<br />

can reinforce the firm’s ESG approach and cement really good<br />

client care on making sustainable property decisions.<br />

Paul: Conveyancers can help support clients by raising awareness<br />

of environmental issues in property transactions by the general<br />

promotion of environmental due diligence. This can be supported<br />

by encouraging clients to invest in environmental assessments<br />

and inspections to identify potential issues before making<br />

informed decisions.<br />

One of the ways that this should be done is to incorporate the<br />

processes into standard conveyancing processes. This is an area<br />

that conveyancers cannot be expected to be experts in, but they<br />

need to be aware and knowledgeable enough to point the client<br />

in the right direction to ensure they are possessed with the best<br />

possible position knowledge.<br />

Conveyancers should build relationships with experts, specialists,<br />

and sustainability professionals in the same way as surveyors to<br />

ensure that they can give a comprehensive assessment to clients.<br />

54 55


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How can Conveyancers stay updated on local and national<br />

environmental regulations and compliance requirements that may<br />

affect property transactions?<br />

Mike: Conveyancers can stay updated on local and national<br />

environmental regulations and compliance requirements that may<br />

impact property transactions through various methods. Firstly,<br />

they can maintain close contact with environmental agencies and<br />

regulatory bodies to receive direct updates on any changes in laws<br />

or regulations. Additionally, they should review official government<br />

websites, where these regulations are often published and updated.<br />

Attending industry conferences can be beneficial as environmental<br />

issues are currently a hot topic. Subscribing to relevant newsletters<br />

and online forums can help Conveyancers stay informed about<br />

the latest developments in environmental regulations. Combining<br />

these strategies, Conveyancers can ensure they remain up to date<br />

on the ever-evolving environmental compliance, thereby providing<br />

guidance to clients in property transactions.<br />

Thomas: Conveyancers should always follow the latest directions<br />

from their specific Regulator. It is also recommended that<br />

lawyers become familiar with the guidance and environmental<br />

policy updates published by other professional bodies, such as<br />

the Practice Notes on Contaminated Land, Flood Risk, Climate<br />

Change or Green Leases issued by the <strong>Law</strong> Society.<br />

Attending professional seminars, workshops, and conferences<br />

related to property law and environmental regulations is also<br />

a great way for practitioners to stay informed about practice<br />

changes and legal updates. Unfortunately, due to the time,<br />

travel and financial commitment often associated with these<br />

events, this avenue may not be open to all individuals.<br />

Therefore, another opportunity worth exploring is reaching out<br />

to your search provider.<br />

Many suppliers supporting the legal profession, such as tmgroup,<br />

frequently offer free opportunities for continuing professional<br />

development through regular bite-size webinars and publications<br />

on pertinent matters and newly emerging risks. These resources<br />

can be easily accessed on demand and are an invaluable tool in<br />

staying up-to-date with the latest industry developments.<br />

“Attending professional seminars, workshops,<br />

and conferences related to property law and<br />

environmental regulations is also a great<br />

way for practitioners to stay informed about<br />

practice changes and legal updates.”<br />

“The drive towards greener thinking is<br />

naturally more focused on those right<br />

at the beginning of the process.”<br />

David: We undertake hundreds of webinars, face to face events<br />

and in-house training for firms across the country every year.<br />

We also work with online training providers, such as the Legal<br />

Eye Academy, to deliver on-line e-certification for conveyancing<br />

teams. This can demonstrate to COLPs and risk managers in the<br />

firm that the team has undergone a consistent, accredited and<br />

independent training with external experts to stay up to speed on<br />

the Guidance, prevailing regulations and best practice.<br />

Chris: The drive towards greener thinking is naturally more<br />

focused on those right at the beginning of the process – such<br />

as developers and architects, or even lenders. Of course,<br />

conveyancers are critical stakeholders, but their focus and<br />

unique value lies in shaping and advising on issues within the<br />

context of the relevant legal or regulatory framework. As the<br />

primary role of a lawyer is to be definitive on risk compliance<br />

and legislative adherence, green issues are challenging as<br />

they tend to be more nebulous or are not yet in a sufficiently<br />

advanced legislative state. Specific to conveyancing for<br />

example, practitioners need to know the exact nature of any<br />

industry documentation produced, for example, whether it’s a<br />

requirement, advisory note or instruction. They would be able<br />

to advise more clearly when the legislative framework is also<br />

clear. Furthermore, we must not forget that the consumer is an<br />

important facilitator of change. Buyers and sellers are calling<br />

for progress around green issues, and in some areas – such<br />

as residential energy performance – the sector is becoming<br />

clearer with its thinking as a result. We shouldn’t forget that<br />

collaboration is underpinned by communication, so we should<br />

focus on ways to bring all of these stakeholders (including<br />

consumers) together in an efficient way to improve the current<br />

conveyancing process, and power collective progress and<br />

iterative improvements.<br />

What are the potential cost<br />

implications of adopting<br />

environmentally conscious<br />

practices in conveyancing, and<br />

how can these be managed?<br />

Mike: Adopting environmentally conscious practices in<br />

conveyancing can carry potential cost implications, but they<br />

can be managed effectively. Initially, the costs associated with<br />

conducting thorough environmental due diligence, such as<br />

environmental searches and surveys, may increase expenses<br />

in the short term. However, these costs are often outweighed<br />

by the long-term benefits, as they can help identify and<br />

mitigate potential environmental risks that may arise in the<br />

future, saving clients from unexpected expenditures. Investing<br />

in energy-efficient or green property improvements can raise<br />

the upfront costs of a transaction but can lead to reduced<br />

operating expenses over time, benefiting both the environment<br />

and the property owner. Conveyancers can help manage these<br />

costs by reporting to clients about the financial advantages of<br />

environmentally sustainable choices, including potential tax<br />

incentives or energy savings that may be revealed in search<br />

results. By raising the long-term economic benefits of ecofriendly<br />

practices and advising of cost-effective approaches,<br />

Conveyancers can make environmentally conscious transactions<br />

more appealing to their clients.<br />

David: Clearly, there are a number of office, administrative and<br />

facilities management strategies that can drive down a firm’s<br />

operational carbon footprint. Many conveyancing practices and<br />

workflow systems are fully cloud based and there has been a dramatic<br />

reduction in physical paper use. Long gone are the days when the<br />

quality of the conveyance was down to the thickness of the file.<br />

IT managers in firms will understand all of this already and there<br />

are well proven efficiencies that have been delivered. However,<br />

being environmentally conscious as a law firm requires a culture<br />

and mindset that starts at the top and works through the<br />

business consistently.<br />

We have recently become a Certified B Corporation - an 18 month<br />

journey but a really valuable process that shone a light on much<br />

of the work that we had been doing already. While it takes time<br />

and effort to seek certification, it validates all that your firm does<br />

with regard to its impact on the environment, the well-being of<br />

your teams and your contribution to society. A number of law<br />

firms, of varying sizes, are part of the B Corp Community and it<br />

provides a really strong differentiation in the market. This would be<br />

especially the case if your firm has a strong environmental practice<br />

or is making ESG commitments. Becoming B Corp means you are<br />

walking the walk and can avoid any accusations of “greenwashing”.<br />

How can conveyancers collaborate<br />

with other stakeholders, such as<br />

real estate agents and developers,<br />

to promote sustainable development<br />

and green building practices?<br />

Mike: Conveyancers can play a role in promoting sustainable<br />

development and green building practices by collaborating<br />

with other stakeholders in the real estate industry, such as real<br />

estate agents and developers. They can start by participating<br />

in meetings and conferences, where they can exchange ideas,<br />

insights, and expertise with these partners. Conveyancers can<br />

also facilitate open lines of communication to share information<br />

about eco-friendly property listings, green certifications, and the<br />

benefits of sustainable building practices. By working together,<br />

conveyancers, real estate agents, and developers can collectively<br />

drive awareness of sustainable development and environmentally<br />

responsible real estate choices, helping to meet the growing<br />

demand for greener, more sustainable properties in the market.<br />

This collaborative approach ultimately benefits the environment,<br />

property owners, and the whole industry.<br />

David: It is highly likely that conveyancers will have little<br />

direct engagement with developers on sustainable building<br />

materials and construction as this would have been determined<br />

under standard building regs and any additional design/<br />

spec requirements committed by the developer as planning<br />

conditions. However, ahead of that commercial real estate lawyers<br />

will want to advise developer clients on the land quality, site<br />

conditions including disposition to flooding from its topography,<br />

groundwater and drainage. In part, this may determine where<br />

they place sustainable drainage versus development plots.<br />

Energy performance is an increasingly key part of property<br />

attraction now and the role of the EPC and related retrofit costs<br />

on existing older property will be a key discussion between client,<br />

estate agent and the conveyancer in the negotiation. This is<br />

one of the reasons why we include not only the EPC and related<br />

estimated energy improvement costs, but also a comparison to<br />

others in the area to see how it meets up to the local competition<br />

and what it would need to be in order to be attractive for re-sale.<br />

“Being environmentally conscious as a<br />

law firm requires a culture and mindset<br />

that starts at the top.”<br />

56 57


FORUM<br />

What role can technology, such as blockchain or smart contracts, play<br />

in making conveyancing processes more environmentally friendly, and<br />

what challenges might arise in their implementation?<br />

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Mike: Technology, including blockchain and smart contracts, can<br />

significantly contribute to making conveyancing processes more<br />

environmentally friendly. Blockchain, with its decentralised and<br />

tamper-resistant ledger, can enhance transparency and security in<br />

property transactions, reducing the need for physical paperwork<br />

and minimising the environmental impact of paper production.<br />

Smart contracts, powered by blockchain, can automate<br />

and streamline various stages of the conveyancing process,<br />

eliminating the need for excessive paperwork and reducing the<br />

carbon footprint associated with document transportation and<br />

storage. However, challenges in implementing these technologies<br />

may arise. First, there’s the issue of widespread adoption and<br />

standardisation, as all stakeholders in the real estate industry<br />

need to embrace these technologies for maximum efficiency.<br />

Additionally, ensuring the security and privacy of sensitive<br />

property data within blockchain systems is crucial. There may also<br />

be technical hurdles in transitioning from traditional conveyancing<br />

methods to a more technologically driven approach. Nevertheless,<br />

as these challenges are addressed, the integration of blockchain<br />

and smart contracts into conveyancing can play a substantial role<br />

in achieving a more environmentally friendly and efficient real<br />

estate transaction process.<br />

“Adopting environmentally<br />

conscious practices in<br />

conveyancing can carry potential<br />

cost implications, but they can<br />

be managed effectively.”<br />

David: Clearly the more tech is deployed in the conveyancing<br />

transaction, the less the physical carbon footprint of the<br />

operation. Digital documentation, data transfer, docusign and<br />

electronic communications including status updates are all<br />

supporting the acceleration to paperless process. There is a<br />

natural human resistance to change, and the notepad isn’t leaving<br />

the conveyancer’s desk any time soon, but for a firm that has just<br />

started the tech adoption journey and is staring at a cabinet full<br />

of paper files, reducing the firm’s footprint requires a significant<br />

culture change - and not before time!<br />

Chris: Digitisation is an environmentally friendly initiative<br />

compared to more traditional conveyancing methods. Every<br />

stakeholder will likely agree that the emergence of further<br />

digital services – such as smart contracting or the AI analysis of<br />

leasehold contracts – are also all positive initiatives. However,<br />

we are venturing into a new world. How do we robustly regulate<br />

emerging technology? The sector needs new standards, processes<br />

and governance; and the only way to scale technology quickly is if<br />

the sector delivers the solutions. For example, The Conveyancing<br />

Information Executive, which Landmark helped to establish, has<br />

developed as the standards body that determines the information<br />

that should go into property reports. Our core decision-making<br />

model is changing, and it needs support to fulfil its potential. Put<br />

simply, if we follow the digitisation journey to an end point, then<br />

a transaction will happen off the back of visual representation<br />

of information alone. For example, users will be supplied with a<br />

RAG or smart workflow as a summary statement. However, the<br />

information that underpins this output is hidden or inaccessible<br />

because of the requirement for speed. All this means that the<br />

digitisation process will require evidence and audit as well as a<br />

high degree of trust from the conveyancer where the validation of<br />

the decisions made isn’t always visible yet must still be recorded.<br />

Conveyancers make big decisions based on risk. The challenge<br />

now is ensuring that lawyers (and wider market stakeholders)<br />

understand how technology and data interact and are managed in<br />

order to be clear on risk and the controls in a digital first world.<br />

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59


FORUM<br />

What are some ways conveyancers<br />

can encourage clients to opt for<br />

digital documentation and signatures<br />

to minimise printing and mailing?<br />

Mike: Conveyancers can encourage clients to opt for digital<br />

documentation and signatures to minimise printing and mailing in<br />

several ways. Firstly, they can emphasise the convenience and timesaving<br />

benefits of digital transactions, highlighting how it expedites<br />

the process and reduces paperwork. Secondly, they can assure clients<br />

of the security and legality of digital signatures, explaining the robust<br />

encryption and authentication measures in place. Offering step-bystep<br />

guidance on how to electronically sign documents can streamline<br />

the process for clients who may be unfamiliar with it. Furthermore,<br />

Conveyancers can discuss the environmental impact and cost savings<br />

associated with reduced paper usage and postage. By educating<br />

clients about the practical advantages and environmental benefits<br />

of being digital, Conveyancers can encourage Client to adopt these<br />

efficient, eco-friendly practices as a way of life.<br />

David: I mentioned Docusign and similar digital agreement<br />

formats already, but ensuring that all searches, maps and<br />

supporting documentation is collated, inputted and stored and<br />

then subsequently signed by all relevant parties electronically saves<br />

on paper, postage, time - and it enables all stakeholders to receive<br />

the same information and status updates at the same time.<br />

Some clients may be reluctant initially to use these new formats,<br />

but there is a new generation of homebuyers and business owners<br />

who are digital natives and the shift to full digitisation is only a<br />

matter of time. Those firms that adapt now can manage costs, be<br />

more efficient, reducing the time for unnecessary manual tasks<br />

and free up the opportunity to focus on the client.<br />

Paul: Digital signatures and documentation can save a lot of time<br />

and cost as well as protecting both the conveyancer and the clients<br />

which supports the environmental and sustainable policies of the<br />

business. In general, the adoption of such processes is positively<br />

received however wider adoption is needed and requires education<br />

and understanding to be widely adopted. The use of user-friendly<br />

tools will considerably improve the uptake from clients whilst<br />

emphasising the security and protection that the systems afford<br />

to clients. Clients can be concerned as to the legal validity of<br />

electronic signatures so therefore it is helpful to be able to point to<br />

evidence of acceptance by authorities and regulated entities.<br />

One of the most important factors to any client in a transaction<br />

is cost therefore the security and cost savings go hand in hand as<br />

an encouragement to clients to adopt the processes. It may also<br />

be possible to offer incentives to clients who utilise the digital<br />

opportunities that you are able to offer them.<br />

What challenges do conveyancers<br />

face in transitioning to digital<br />

platforms for document<br />

management and communication?<br />

Mike: Conveyancers encounter several challenges in<br />

transitioning to digital platforms for document management<br />

and communication. First and foremost, there is a learning curve<br />

associated with adopting new technologies, which may require<br />

training for both staff and clients. Ensuring that all parties<br />

involved in a transaction are willing and able to adapt to digital<br />

processes can be a challenge. Integrating digital solutions into<br />

existing workflows and systems can also be complex and timeconsuming.<br />

The cost of implementing and maintaining digital<br />

platforms can be a significant hurdle for smaller conveyancing<br />

firms. Technical issues, such as software glitches or network<br />

failures, may disrupt operations and potentially lead to delays in<br />

property transactions. Despite these obstacles, the benefits of<br />

transitioning to digital platforms, including increased efficiency,<br />

reduced environmental impact, and improved client service, make<br />

it a worthwhile venture for Conveyancers.<br />

Thomas: To understand the challenges Conveyancers, face here,<br />

perhaps it’s prudent to first consider the key driver for considering<br />

a transition to digital platforms for document management and<br />

communication.<br />

Digital platforms remove historic accessibility and communication<br />

barriers. Documents can be stored in the cloud, making it possible<br />

to collaborate on them in real time with colleagues, clients and<br />

other third parties, virtually from any place with internet access.<br />

Digital solutions also facilitate ease of sharing and transparent<br />

communication exchange. This promotes effective stakeholder<br />

engagement and significantly reduces transaction times.<br />

However, this ease of access brings in a number of risks associated<br />

with data security. Conveyancers are commonly targeted by cyber<br />

criminals, and it has never been more challenging for law firms<br />

to ensure their systems and cybersecurity measures are robust<br />

enough to sustain a sophisticated attack that may compromise<br />

their clients’ data.<br />

At tmgroup, we strive to make it easier for conveyancers to use<br />

our digital platforms by securely integrating our services with other<br />

existing systems law firms use. Our latest integration with iManage<br />

Work 10, one of the leading secure document management<br />

systems, as well as our ISO27001 accreditation, are a testament<br />

to our unconditional commitment for ensuring security of our<br />

customers’ data.<br />

Requesting feedback can be a useful way of providing reassurance<br />

to clients that not only do the systems work but they are also<br />

popular and effective.<br />

61


10 MINS WITH<br />

Heather<br />

Gaffney<br />

Q<br />

What<br />

Minutes With...<br />

is your most memorable achievement<br />

whilst working in your current role?<br />

My current role, as Head of Private Wealth, has already brought a<br />

few achievements. When the department evolved from Residential<br />

Property to Private Wealth it incorporated Private Client, and I had<br />

to explore an area of law that I wasn’t fully familiar with. This meant<br />

re-training, educating myself and learning. I’m proud that I’ve done<br />

this alongside my day-to-day job and feel that I have improved and<br />

expanded my knowledge and management skill set. The private<br />

client department itself has grown hugely over the past 6 months in<br />

terms of both clients and the type of work we are seeing within the<br />

department, and it’s been really rewarding to see.<br />

QWWhat has been the most valuable piece of<br />

advice you’ve ever been given?<br />

Never stop learning. Nobody knows everything. I think it’s<br />

dangerous when people believe they are an expert in something –<br />

whether you’ve been learning about it for one year or 25 years, things<br />

are always changing and there are always new things to learn and<br />

grasp an understanding of. The reason I chose a career in law is that I<br />

wanted to be constantly learning and to always be pushing myself. I<br />

feel that I do this in both my role as a lawyer and as a director/head<br />

of department.<br />

QWhat has been the key positive or negative<br />

impact of change in your area of the market?<br />

I have found residential property to be a particularly challenging<br />

area of the market to work within since the pandemic. There have<br />

been changes to legislation or new pieces of legislation coming into<br />

force that change things overnight (such as changes to Stamp Duty<br />

rates) or that we aren’t given the support or time to learn about as<br />

quickly as we need to (such as the introduction of the Building Safety<br />

Act 2022). Recent economical changes have put more pressure on<br />

conveyancers to complete matters within timeframes that mean<br />

clients aren’t going to be exposed to higher rates of interest on their<br />

mortgages. On the flip side of this, I do think huge improvements<br />

have been made to technology during the last few years – the Land<br />

Registry have made it simpler to submit an application through<br />

an online application process, client ID can now be uploaded and<br />

verified via an app, and property search results appear to be coming<br />

back more speedily. As a firm, we have made huge improvements<br />

and changes to our case management system. Overall, these<br />

benefits create a more streamlined process.<br />

“Never stop learning.<br />

Nobody knows everything.”<br />

Q<br />

If<br />

you were not in your current position, what<br />

would you like to be doing?<br />

If I wasn’t a lawyer, I think I would have gone into something<br />

completely different and much more creative, such as floristry.<br />

QWhat three items would you put on display in<br />

a museum of your life and why?<br />

Models of the people most important to me – who have supported<br />

me, made me believe I can do anything or for who I constantly strive<br />

to do better for – my son, my husband and my parents.<br />

QWhat three guests would you invite to a<br />

dinner party?<br />

I am extremely proud of being a woman in business, so I think I<br />

would invite strong and influential woman to tell me their stories.<br />

The three guests I would invite to a dinner party would be Emmeline<br />

Pankhurst, Jane Austin and Michelle Obama.<br />

Heather Gaffney,<br />

Head of Private Wealth,<br />

Lewis Denley<br />

WE ARE MORE<br />

THAN JUST A<br />

SUPPLIER<br />

WE ARE YOUR<br />

PARTNER<br />

At tmgroup, we take pride in our client relationships.<br />

We listen. We understand. We support.<br />

We work with you to deliver the most effective<br />

property transaction solutions, to make your<br />

business processes convenient and efficient.<br />

SEARCHES<br />

Our whole market view provides much more than just<br />

Local Authority and Environmental Reports.<br />

QUOTE TOOL<br />

Accurate, branded quotes, ready to email in less than 30<br />

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NEW BUILD SERVICES<br />

Complete management of a new build property<br />

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handle queries.<br />

LAND REGISTRY SERVICES<br />

Our comprehensive service with enhanced search tools<br />

give you immediate access to important information.<br />

POST COMPLETION<br />

Smart SDLT & AP1 submission forms save you time by<br />

reducing double entry and requisitions.<br />

“How friendly, professional and prompt the staff are -<br />

tmgroup’s customer service is truly amazing! There has<br />

never been an issue which the team have not been able<br />

to resolve for me. Thanks for being so amazing.”<br />

Rhianna Melvin, Freeths LLP<br />

MAPPING SOLUTIONS<br />

Delivering pre transaction due diligence tools to help you<br />

strengthen and support your relationship with clients.<br />

RISK MANAGEMENT<br />

Stay protected with our range of risk management<br />

solutions from AML, KYC, Insurance and Source of Funds.<br />

INTEGRATIONS<br />

A range Integration solutions to allow you to access<br />

conveyancing solutions straight from your case.<br />

MANAGED SERVICES<br />

Team of search professionals work with your business to<br />

simplify and speed up your search ordering process.<br />

PORTFOLIO SERVICE<br />

We can manage your portfolios and give you a real time<br />

view of progress with our portfolio manager dashboard.<br />

62<br />

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: 0800 840 5571 | tmgroup.co.uk


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e. angela@amitylaw.co.uk<br />

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amitylaw.co.uk/lifestyle<br />

Amity <strong>Law</strong> is a wholly owned subsidiary of Smoove plc<br />

Amity <strong>Law</strong> Limited is regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (No 11110) for the provision of<br />

conveyancing services and is registered in England and Wales under company number 5490029

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