Recently I’ve been expanding my skill set and learning all about conveyancing. Early in my career I had the opportunity to work as a conveyancer for the lawyer I worked for at the time. That was close to 15 years ago though, and so was excited and a bit nervous when two of my current clients let me know they were expanding their practice to include a fair bit of residential conveyancing and they wanted me to be involved.
I was very lucky though. First, my clients knew I hadn’t worked as a paralegal in this area in a long time and they were willing to support me as I got back up to speed. Second, my clients had decided to try out a great web-based software for conveyancing, Econveyance. This system helped us all adjust to the new practice area much more quickly than if we had to put together a pile of precedents on our own. (Currently you can use Econveyance if you are in Alberta or British Columbia, but I’m pretty sure they have plans to expand!)
Now we are several weeks into the experience and I’m finding that I am really enjoying the challenge and pace of real estate conveyancing work. I’ve been reviewing seminar materials to help me out and I’m registered for a LESA seminar for support staff in February to really complete my education upgrade. I’ve been part of two training sessions by Econveyance staff (they are so nice!) and probably most importantly I’ve just spent a fair bit of my own time reviewing and reading checklists, procedural information on line and basically everything I can get my hands on to help me out.
Virtual conveyancing is not without its challenges. I can do most of the document drafting, I can phone clients and set up signing appointments or confirm how a purchaser wants to appear on title, but I am not physically present in the office. I need someone to scan and send me real estate purchase contracts and mortgage instructions. I need someone to print out the documents on-site for execution by the client. And of course the lawyer needs to very carefully review all my work! Still, I think conveyancing may well be an area in which lawyers could particularly benefit from the assistance of a virtual paralegal.
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