This month is Berwins' 30th birthday which got me thinking that I also started my legal career in Harrogate in 1986 so I am also celebrating my 30th anniversary this year (I know, I don’t look old enough!).
This got me thinking about how things have changed over the years...
Then : My Mum asked me how I’d got on after my first day at work and seemed somewhat surprised when I told her I’d spent it sewing and colouring. In those days – there were no colour photocopiers and so property plans were coloured in by hand. Wills and deeds were sewn up by hand as well.
There were no computers, an electric typewriter was the height of technology. I remember one of the secretaries typing up a new lease which was approximately 80 pages long. She got to the end and then ripped what she thought was the draft in half in celebration (no mean feat) but unfortunately it was the engrossment and she had to start again!
All correspondence was typed (no email) with a hard copy and a carbon copy. Those of you old enough to know what carbon paper is will remember the joy of getting a new sheet and the smell! Simple pleasures…
Now : At Berwins we are not yet paperless but are certainly paperlight. We are happy to communicate with clients and other professionals by phone, email or even post if they prefer.
In the conveyancing side of the business, technology has had a significant impact.
Then : We would have to write to the mortgage lender to request the title deeds, wait for them to be received then write to the land registry for an up to date copy of the title and once that was received we could prepare the contract papers – a few weeks at best.
Now : We download the title (assuming it is registered) in about 2 minutes!
Then : If the property was local we used to arrange personal completions. So on moving day I would be running around town carrying deeds and cheques to complete various sales and purchases. It was well known that it would be raining if I had a completion!
Now : Money is transferred online and the sun shines more often on moving days.
Some things have stayed the same – the camaraderie between the local solicitors and estate agents which helps to move transactions along is still there I’m pleased to say. If there is a problem in a chain it’s so nice to be able to pick up the phone to speak to another firm to explain the issue instead of being put through to a call centre!
Written by Michelle Crowhurst of Berwins Solicitors.