Is conveyancing lagging in the prop-tech race?

Article by Craig Matthews. Chair of the LSSA and CEO of Osprey Approach.

With the housing market boom showing no sign of waning, it is vital that law firms have access to conveyancing tech that enables them to keep pace with others in the industry, says LSSA Chair and Osprey Approach CEO, Craig Matthews

According to property website Rightmove, the housing market experienced its busiest month in over a decade in July 2020, which saw a record total value of over £37 billion worth of sales agreed. 

The extensive reporting about the state of the housing market was a prompt reminder for me that our home insurance policy was up for renewal. Gone are the days of the “your call is important to us; in its place was a painless experience, which took less than ten minutes to complete online. The same goes for other sectors linked to housing. Meter and water readings are easily provided through an app or portal.  

This got me thinking: have conveyancing legal services kept up with the pace of development seen in other property-related sectors? Whilst progress has been made – some firms have embraced legal tech and are providing clients with a quicker and more transparent service – there’s still a long way to go.  

According to the comparison website Finder, the average age of a first-time buyer in the UK is 34. They are tech-savvy digital natives who can use a range of electronic devices with a great deal of ease. And importantly, they expect to conduct everyday tasks online. Research by case generation company mmadigital found 83% of clients would rather deal with their lawyer online now. Given the pace of development seen in other sectors, we need to ensure that law firms aren’t left behind. As the saying goes, the writing is on the wall. 

There are exciting developments in the industry, which only emphasise the need for us to be supplying innovative applications to conveyancers. A prime example is HM Land Registry’s Digital Street project, which is actively exploring the use of blockchain in the property purchase process to open up property transactions and allow those involved to stay up to date digitally. 

As members of an organisation, which plays a key role in shaping the UK’s legal tech market, we have a duty to help future proof the conveyancing sector by ensuring that legal professionals are up to speed with the latest technological advancements.  

Invest in legal tech: recommendations 

At Osprey, we are continually looking at how we can best serve our clients. For us that means not only ensuring law practices run efficiently on a day-to-day basis but having an eye firmly on the future. To find out more, visit