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First Scottish integration: streamlining the conveyancing process for solicitors – Altis

Posted: 4th April 2019

First Scottish integration: streamlining the conveyancing process for solicitors

Established in 1987, First Scottish is one of the largest search providers in Scotland. Searches are a required part of any property transaction to be carried out by the selling solicitor. From the beginning of Altis, one of the goals was to integrate the platform with the First Scottish system. This integration went live at the end of 2018, meaning the data that is input into Altis can be instantly sent to the First Scottish system.

Lorna Innes, Development Director of First Scottish, provides her thoughts on the First Scottish integration with Altis and digitisation within the legal industry.

Altis and First Scottish

Discussing the relationship between Altis and First Scottish, Lorna said: “I’ve worked with Altis for a number of years. We had been very interested in working with a company within the e-conveyancing sector. A few years ago, a couple of smaller players came into the market but Altis was by far the best.”

The fact that it was a joint venture between ESPC, the Law Society of Scotland and Mike Barcroft, who previously founded BDP (Scottish estate agency software) made the platform particularly attractive to First Scottish – Lorna said: “For us, and our position in the market, we are delighted to be working with ESPC, one of the leading property portals. The Law Society backing also gives it further credibility.”

Client focus

First Scottish are ultimately focused on making things better for their clients and Lorna believes integration with Altis is a great way to do this. She said: “We’re always looking for better ways we can help solicitors so they’re not sitting down with complex queries and trying to get their head round them – we want to alleviate some of that pressure if we can. Solicitors are always going to need searches, but the process must be streamlined so that they can spend more time with clients. When solicitors input data into Altis, it comes straight through to our online ordering platform, meaning they don’t have to spend time retyping the information and they can spend that time with clients instead.”

How the integration works

In terms of how the integration between the two systems works, there is an API in place to take information from Altis and send it directly to First Scottish. Lorna explained: “We could have just had a link from Altis to First Scottish, but then the solicitor would have had to retype all the information in. Instead, we created an API with our IT partners, which essentially takes the information from Altis and feeds it into our system. The reports are then emailed back to the solicitor, to be saved back into Altis, but we’re looking at streamlining that part of the process further for stage two.”

Digitisation and the legal industry

When discussing the future of the legal industry, Lorna sees further digitisation as being the main trend, which will in turn allow solicitors more time to focus on client care. She commented: “I think there will be more digitisation of the process and that will allow solicitors to spend more time with the clients, which is a positive thing. When you buy or sell your property, it’s one of the most important things you’ll do in your life, and you want to have time to sit down to talk to your solicitor, rather than for them to spend large amounts of time doing duplicate paperwork.”

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