The Office of the Registrar General is supporting lawyers and conveyancers to make the transition to eConveyancing before the mandatory timeframes make it the only option. Read through our website for more information or to register for workshops.
"I knew from the get-go that this was the future of conveyancing"
Twenty-eight-year-old lawyer Max Williams had absolutely no hesitation in adopting eConveyancing. Indeed, he was ready to go before the technology was available. Once PEXA, Australia’s first electronic lodgment network operator, gave the green light for settlements to go ahead he was soon celebrating his first electronic transaction.
Approaching eConveyancing as a digital native
Max says his relatively young age is probably a factor contributing to his willingness to adopt digital conveyancing. “I'm part of that generation, which grew up with computers and technology. So, technology's never been something to be overly feared for me, and I assume for most of my generation. My generation is a lot more adaptable to technology.”
Max says he knew from “the get-go” that eConveyancing was the future of conveyancing. However, he does understand the reluctance of some practitioners. He says, “I've only been practising for five to six years, whereas a lot of practitioners have been doing conveyancing one particular way for 20, 30, 40 years. The thought that you're going to have to change everything up and relearn, I mean I can understand why there would be that reluctance.”
A change worth celebrating
However, for those feeling cautious, it’s a change worth making, even celebrating, says Max. After getting the green light from PEXA and finding another early adopter to transact with, Max completed his first electronic conveyance and says it was a great feeling. “It all went through very smoothly, there were no issues. PEXA came in, we had some champagne and a bit of a photo opportunity, it was a real celebration. And then I was just excited to get onto the next one.”
Max says the stand-out benefit for him is the increased efficiency, while for his clients it’s the reduced likelihood that an error will cause problems during their transaction. He also believes that once you use eConceyancing, you’re a “convert”. He describes one former colleague as “reluctant” about eConveyancing but says once he convincdd her to do one transaction electronically “she was on the phone to all her colleagues saying, ‘You've got to get on PEXA, you’ve got to settle electronically’.”
NSW a step ahead thanks to government’s timeline
Max studied law at Bond University in Queensland and initially practised in the sunshine state, organising the Gold Coast’s first electronic conveyancing transaction. He’s now an Associate at HPL Law Group in Sydney’s Freshwater, practising predominantly in property and succession law.
Since moving to New South Wales 12 months ago, he’s forged ahead with the transition to digital and has settled “close to 30” transactions electronically during this time. He sees the NSW Government’s eConveyancing timeline as a big positive.
“I think I have quite a unique perspective because I've come from Queensland, I've seen how the different industries work and certainly NSW is much more advanced than Queensland. Having the NSW Government say, ‘Listen, here's the timeline’, I mean it really lights a fire, if you will, under people to get started.” He says he feels sorry for the colleagues he left behind in Queensland: “They can use it [PEXA] technically, but without everyone on board they don't really have much of an opportunity to use it, and their clients are missing out and they're missing out on the efficiency and all the benefits.”
Looking ahead: the role of technology in law
The broader discussion around law and technology is one Max takes a keen interest in. “I think the perspective generally goes to two extremes,” he says, with one extreme suggesting technology won’t have much of an impact and the other suggesting it will “replace lawyers and we’ll have robots running around.”
Max is optimistic about the role of technology: “It is not going to replace what we do, but it's going to make what we do more effective and reduce error. It's going to make our jobs a lot easier. With eConveyancing, it doesn't replace the job of a conveyancer, it just makes their job a lot easier and more efficient.”
Max also sees more digital transition beyond the current mandates. While the current timeline focuses only on lodgments and settlements, Max hopes for a future where conveyancing can be done electronically from start to finish. In the last few months he’s also exchanged contracts electronically on several occasions and says the technology “is again very straight forward and simple to use, anyone that's got a tablet, a laptop or a smart phone can use it.”