The legacy of Covid-19 is extraordinary and yet to be fully understood. The impact of the pandemic has been wide reaching and permanent, with a devasting scale of loss across society that could not have been predicted and that we would not wish to repeat – ever.
However, as we move into the new, yet different, post-pandemic world, there are some positives to be found. For many, the opportunity to work remotely was a welcome one and PwC research in January 2021 showed that more than half of employees would prefer to be remote at least three days a week. This new found attitude has left many businesses adopting their working practices and the legal sector is not alone in considering now how best to integrate the benefits that remote working offers on a long-term basis.
For many, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation in working practices and focused minds on the benefits that digital solutions can bring. In the context of deputyship services, there is a clear need for systems which make accurate data available to teams in real time and which supply a method for teams to communicate effectively on client matters.
The management of property and financial affairs requires a prominent level of interconnection and communication within teams,which is not something that remote working naturally supports. Further to this, the OPG deputyship standards state they require “clear and effective governance between the named deputy and staff delegated to carry out the day-to-day functions of the role” and “sufficient senior internal supervision” further proving that a centralised system that brings the whole team together is critical.
Viewed in this way, the role of Lawtech is to replace, to a point, the delegation of tasks and supervision of output that happens organically in an office environment – this might be the quick chat while the kettle boils which reminds a supervising solicitor to ask their paralegal to call an estate agent, or an overheard telephone call alerting the deputy to an issue with a client which is easily resolved. Whilst digital solutions and this way of thinking can contribute to the loss of team environment, as remote and hybrid working increase post pandemic solutions will have to be found to this inevitable, unavoidable shift.
The right type of Lawtech also comes with out-weighted benefits, in the form of centralised client records with linked tasks and diary functionality, shared contact records, quick notes, and fully audit-able file activity history. And it isn’t just the transparency that’s a bonus…
Digital solutions also have a role to play in removing the need for paper files and records, which bind teams to a single physical space. By supplying digital data management solutions, Lawtech frees teams to operate in the spaces that best suit them and in the way that best suits their clients. Whilst changing mindsets and working practices can take time, employing digital solutions that support effective supervision, communication and data management will bring real long-term benefits to the deputy and their teams.
Written by Geri Rawlins, Business Development Consultant