Matt Ellis discusses how a forward-thinking approach can help you navigate the complexities of the modern conveyancing landscape and improve staff retention, wellbeing and innovation in your firm.

Residential conveyancing is undergoing a seismic shift. From the unwieldy nature of the process to the constant evolution of legal and compliance frameworks, conveyancing practitioners today face a landscape that is as challenging as it is ripe for innovation. At its heart lies the wellbeing of the professionals who navigate this terrain daily, and the environment that firms must create to maintain a motivated, skilled workforce.

Increasing complexity of conveyancing

Residential conveyancing, as an inherently business-to-consumer model, places unique demands on legal professionals. Clients, often unfamiliar with the complexities of buying or selling property, bring high emotional and financial stakes to the table. Conveyancing practitioners, therefore, wear more hats than those in other practice areas might – acting as legal advisors, therapists and more.

The process itself has become increasingly cumbersome, with many requirements added over the years and little taken away. This complexity is not unique to conveyancing or even the legal industry, but it underscores the need for resilient, adaptable professionals. Yet, the profession in general has not fully embraced pricing for value, often competing on price rather than service quality, experience and outcomes. This hyper-focus leads to low-margin work, and undervalues the expertise required in this highly complex area – as evidenced by the disproportionate professional indemnity insurance costs that conveyancing attracts.

This undervaluation is palpable, and according to a 2023 report by Bold Legal Group and Big Yellow Penguin, 52% of conveyancers indicated that they would leave the profession if they could, and only 16% of new entrants envisioned their future to be in residential conveyancing.

The fear of losing clients often prevents firms from adjusting their pricing models, despite widespread acknowledgment of the issue. However, a shift towards value-based pricing could alleviate several pain points, attracting clients who appreciate the service’s worth, and potentially reducing the stress associated with high-volume, low-value workloads.

Recent findings from the Conveyancing Foundation’s survey underscore this, highlighting workload management and client expectation setting as key stress reducers. The survey also points to the significant mental health challenges faced by residential conveyancing professionals, especially during market fluctuations like the post-pandemic lull.

Prioritising staff wellbeing

Attracting new talent requires more than competitive salaries. The new workforce prioritises culture, work-life balance and professional development opportunities. Initiatives like flexible working arrangements, wellness programmes and transparent career progression paths are no longer optional but essential, particularly for younger generations.

PEXA, for instance, champions various low-investment wellbeing initiatives, recognising the importance of a supportive work environment. Current examples offered to our UK team include:

  • ‘workcactions’, where employees can work from overseas for up to two weeks every six months
  • ‘summer Fridays’, where employees can finish at 2pm on Fridays during July and August (if work commitments allow), and
  • four ‘wellness days’ each year, to use exactly as the name suggests.

The organisation’s approach to technology also resonates with a workforce that values efficiency and work-life balance, using tech solutions to alleviate administrative burdens and free up professionals to focus on high-value, satisfying work.

Improving your retention rates

Retention hinges on similar factors. Feeling valued, having strong intra-industry relationships and managing work volumes effectively are all crucial for maintaining motivation. The Conveyancing Foundation’s survey revealed that support from colleagues and management is available but underutilised, pointing to an opportunity for firms to encourage a more supportive, interconnected work environment.

Hybrid and remote working models are not just viable – they’re often preferred, as evidenced by lower stress levels among professionals with flexible arrangements. However, this requires a shift in management’s approach, moving away from ‘time is money’ models to trust-based, objective-driven frameworks. Factors such as training, supervision and development are often quoted as reasons for residential conveyancing staff to be primarily office-based – but with a bit of initiative and planning, flexible working arrangements can still deliver on all fronts. What works for one firm (or even one employee) may not work for another, but if flexibility is truly embedded into a firm’s culture and values it will benefit from enhanced employee wellbeing overall.


Client expectations have significantly evolved over the last 5-10 years. Speed, efficiency and transparency are non-negotiables (we can watch our packages and pizzas in transit to us, and rightly or wrongly – this experience has become the baseline expectation for most consumer experiences now), and technology is an enabler of these outcomes.

As a result, technology providers have well and truly stepped up to the plate to help address some of the residential conveyancing challenges, highlighting that technology can be an enabler of a better employee experience and client experience, as well as a tool to mitigate risks.

While technology has streamlined many aspects of conveyancing, it doesn’t diminish the need for skilled professionals. Instead, it should alleviate the burden of administrative tasks, allowing conveyancing practitioners to focus on providing exceptional client experiences and tackling the legal intricacies of property transactions.

Looking ahead

The future of residential conveyancing hinges on the industry’s ability to adapt — not just to market fluctuations and evolving client expectations, but also to the needs of its professionals. By reevaluating pricing strategies, investing in employee wellbeing and leveraging technology as an enabler, firms can create a more resilient, satisfying and sustainable practice.

PEXA is an innovative technology company that has transformed property transactions in Australia. Its digital platform brings lenders and law firms together, facilitating seamless collaboration for lodgement and financial settlement processes. In 2020, PEXA embarked on a journey to bring its successful model to the UK, introducing a remortgage solution for England and Wales and planning a comprehensive sale and purchase offering. PEXA continues to work closely with the legal profession, aiming to enhance the conveyancing experience for all parties involved.