How the Hudson Quarter project is transforming York - Victoria Mortimer

Victoria Mortimer, partner and head of Shulmans' QCAS division.
Victoria Mortimer, partner and head of Shulmans' QCAS division.
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A standard day starts with my morning commute from York to Leeds.

I drop my son off at school and then head into the office. Whether it’s a day in the office, attending a conference, dinner, or going to a panel event, no two days are ever the same in my working week.

As head of one of the top 10 volume conveyancing service providers in the UK, a large part of my role is managing the various projects that we undertake both nationally and regionally.

One of these is our partnership with Hudson Moody as the appointed conveyancers for buyers of accommodation at the prestigious Hudson Quarter development in central York, a brand-new mixed-use scheme developed by Palace Capital plc that will feature 127 luxury apartments upon its completion. The project has now passed the six-month stage of a two-year construction programme, with exchanges taking place and over 30 of the 127 apartments already reserved.

My role is becoming increasingly focused on technology and it’s important that, as a firm, we streamline our processes to facilitate the changes that we are currently seeing in society. With everyone having an online presence nowadays, it’s vital that we are aware of these changes within the industry and are constantly adapting our services to suit the growing demand.

By 9am I’m in the office and ready to go live on our digital mortgage deeds project, now that statute has been passed to accept electronic signatures. Many of our clients are keen to explore the use of automated or online processes and at Shulmans we are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide. This is a positive step for the legal sector that will work to our advantage, as we can continue to offer an excellent experience for our clients.

The project has been a collaborative effort, as the team and I have worked with our in-house IT developers, clients and the land registry to make sure we achieve a successful outcome. We have now completed this exciting development and it is really rewarding to see our months of hard work and planning come to fruition.

With a career spanning more than two decades, I have seen how the industry has adapted with the rise of technology and it has led to a real hunger for me to help clients become more tech-savvy and understand the significant advantages that technology can have for their businesses.

After a busy morning setting the digital mortgage deeds project live, I get in my car at around 1pm and begin the drive to Nottingham to attend the Bold Legal Convey 2030 Roadshow, hosted by HM Land Registry (HMLR) where I have been asked to be a panellist. The show is centred around the delivery of legal services and the way in which conveyancing is affected by and changing with the adoption of technology.

I take my position on the first panel for the day which is focused on money laundering. I have been invited to discuss the threats posed by both cyber-crime and money laundering, and the solutions being deployed to help resolve the issues. This can often be a cause for concern for some of our clients but, with improved technology there are better systems in place for us, as a team, to provide effective support. The panel also includes a discussion on open banking which is an innovative new process that has been introduced. This has been a helpful initiative that has enabled access to information relating to clients’ bank accounts, whilst helping to combat fraud.

The second panel is about client onboarding, which is the process of welcoming new clients to a business, addressing their questions and concerns, and ensuring they understand all the services that are available to them.

On the panel, we discuss how to convert clients to using technology as it can often be daunting for those who have less experience in this area. It is also useful from a firm-wide perspective to know how to use technology to communicate with our clients and what systems are currently out there to make life easier for our clients. We also discuss how these processes will inevitably develop in the future because, as we all know, the world of technology never stands still! This issue is particularly relevant now, given that the government is focusing on the conveyancing process to make it more efficient financially.

Both panels are a success and questions from the audience come flooding in – it is great to see so much engagement from a group of like-minded professionals who are passionate about the work we do.

It’s now around 5:30pm and after a busy day, I get back in my car to drive the 85-miles home to the countryside to catch up with my family on the events of the day over a relaxing dinner.

Victoria Mortimer, is a partner and head of Shulmans’ QCAS division