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To think this isn't on and I have no choice but to leave

136 replies

CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 07:49

I work in a firm of a solicitors handling conveyancing matters.

My company around a year ago introduced a phone system which to me is just completely ridiculous.

Essentially they have scrapped direct dials and put us all in a pool where all calls just bounce to various people in the office.

Very rarely these calls relate to a matter you are personally dealing with however we are expected to assist by looking on the system at whichever matter the caller is asking about which interrupts your own matters.

At first it was manageable. However, they have expanded so rapidly that I am taking nearly 70 calls a day on matters which have nothing to do with me.

It's not about feeling that this is below me or anything like that. But I find it really hard to work on my own things whilst being constantly interrupted to deal with other people's matters. Add to that the fact we are now absolutely berated if we don't answer all calls to our phone and have even started receiving emails to say 'CakeandTea you have been away from your desk for 15 minutes can you explain why and go back in the phone pool please'.

I am trying to run my own cases and manage my own clients expectations and do actual legal work which takes concentration. I'm making mistakes and missing things because of this and it's causing me stress.

However, they will not see it. There has been a surge of people handing in their notices recently and one of the management essentially told another member of staff that they will happily 'manage people out if they don't like how we do things'.

AIBU to think this is not an efficient way to run a business or a fair way to treat your staff. I've been loyal to this place for a long time but I feel like they have changed their attitude towards us so drastically recently.

OP posts:

MummytoCSJH · 16/10/2018 08:26

This exact thing happened to me. I was a paralegal. Not only was it taking time away from my own work which annoyed the solicitors but it ran me into over time when I was meant to work 9-5. Of course, I always stayed late to get my work done by choice anyway, but the point is I was doing an extra 5-8 hours a week unpaid and still not managing to get all my simple paperwork done. If I was talking to somebody I couldn't leave until they ended the call - if I was unlucky enough to get another call straight through I still couldn't go home, I had to deal with the issue which often had nothing to do with the group of solicitors I assisted. I could never get through to anyone I wasn't directly involved with because they had no clue who I was! I was told 'this job is what you signed up to' I absolutely did not sign up to work in a call centre!! So I left.


GU24Mum · 16/10/2018 08:26

It sounds awful from both your perspective and for the clients too. Unfortunately though the choices are put up with it or go elsewhere - or hope someone sees sense in the interim but I suspect that's unlikely....


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:27

Will try to answer some questions:

It was originally brought in because we let too many calls go to voicemail apparently. I can't speak for everyone but I know I for one, whenever I did leave a call to voicemail, would allocate a time in the day to go through them and call back. To me I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect to speak to your solicitor/conveyancer every single time you call. Sometines we will need to call you back and I always tried to make sure I did same day.

We do have a reception but when someone calls through to them they literally just plonk them through to the pool so they still don't get who they asked for resulting in me getting an angry client saying they asked for x and asking whether the lady on reception explained why they called. So I then have to take all the details they've just given to reception.

Some days I literally do nothing but answer the phone and reply to emails. I have been in tears before now because the phone just keeps going. They have locked all the volume of the ringer too so you can't even turn it down. I assume to prevent you from being able to ignore it.

Myself and numerous colleagues have spoken to management and it's never resolved. We're now simply told it's the job.

I imagine it originally formed part of the service agreements we had with some introducers that all calls should be answered but to me there has to be a better way to do it. We got told that we had to answer within three rings originally but that never really got into practice.

The only time you are allowed out is if you're covering for someone else whilst they are on holiday i.e looking after their case load as well as yours including their emails etc...

OP posts:

TeeniefaeTroon · 16/10/2018 08:30

Are you based in Scotland? There's a firm I have to contact frequently who do this and it drives me crazy not getting through to the right person when I call. I recommend our clients not to use this firm.


DamnWhyAreAllTheUsernamesTaken · 16/10/2018 08:32

Conveyancers are in huge demand at the minute - contact a few recruiters and find something else, your situation sounds ridiculous!


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:35

MummytoCSJH it's so demotivating isn't it. I fear this is the type of direction a lot of larger firms are starting to take.

they did hire 3 telephone progressors to just answer phones a while back but it's made no difference as they keep expanding and people keep leaving so when they say they've hired more phone help, they are just replacing the ones that have left.

OP posts:

SuperSuperSuper · 16/10/2018 08:37

It sounds like a tinpot outfit. Start looking around, OP.


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:37

TeeniefaeTroon no not based in Scotland!

It makes me mad because essentially it's my name that clients have and my reputation. Instead of saying 'Oh x firm of solicitors is shit' the client thinks 'Oh CakeandTea is a shit conveyancer'. I'm not. But I don't have capacity to do my job properly.

OP posts:

cakecakecheese · 16/10/2018 08:38

I've had this, people who don't actually do the work making sweeping decisions about stuff without a clue about how it actually will affect our day to day work. If people are leaving over it then clearly it's not just you having issues with this and no add to the frustration no one higher up is listening. Maybe you should see if one of them will come and sit with you and see what you actually have to deal with. Other than that though look for another job and mention why you're leaving at your exit interview.


kikisparks · 16/10/2018 08:38

I’m a solicitor and I couldn’t work like that! You’re essentially a receptionist. They need to get some reception staff to field the calls and let their fee earners do some work or they are not going to make any money.


MummytoCSJH · 16/10/2018 08:40

The worst part is my firm worked in personal injury so we actually had a call centre for contact with clients and insurers Confused so no idea where they got the idea that anybody and everybody should be answering calls and directing them. Similarly to you they started checking how long we'd spent off the phone/away from desks - regardless of whether we were in an actual meeting, speaking to a solicitor, getting tea or going to the toilet.


User212787555 · 16/10/2018 08:43

Let me guess, the person (office manager?) who put this in place has no direct experience of the kind of work done by the firm? And they have imported this system from another very different business where they worked before?

I have seen this type of thing in other settings, an office manager type with limited experience bullishly forcing a inappropriate admin process onto a complex business. Same thing, all the good people resigned, no one would listen, management took a ‘good riddance’ approach. In time the business took a huge hit as clients voted with their feet. It took a very long time for them to catch on and try to change the culture. Find a new job first, then hand in your notice. Nothing will change until they realise it’s hitting them in the pocket.


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:43

cakecakecheese yes it's exactly that. The manager responsible is quite young and it's very arrogant and disliked in the office. He is here maybe 1 day a week for a couple of hours at most. How he got where he is I'll never know!

He's the same one who spoke about 'managing people out' which I wish someone had recorded. Surely from a HR point of view that isn't an okay thing to say? But we don't have a HR Dept either so!

OP posts:

ShinyPinkLipgloss · 16/10/2018 08:46

Given the stance taken by management I’d definitely recommend leaving.

Life is too short to be dealing with such nonsense. Go where you will be appreciated.

I recently had dealings with a law firm and what I really appreciated was that I had a pint of contact with a direct dial who personally updated me and returned calls on the same day whenever I got through to her voicemail.

I left a crap job last year as I felt wholly undervalued and stupid tasks that where not my responsibility took away from my ability to do things that were. My new workplace is such a stark contrast. My skills are valued and appreciated and despite only being there for just over two months I’ve had management approach me to say I’m clearly destined for great things but that they hope I’ll stick around with them for at least another year. It makes all the difference to me knowing when I get up in the morning that I’m going somewhere where I’m valued and listened to.

Best of luck OP! I wish you every success in finding somewhere that appreciates you.


BishyBarneyBee3 · 16/10/2018 08:48

If it's ruining your reputation then you have no option but to leave. What a ridiculous system!


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:52

MummytoCSJH is just crazy isn't it. I haven't had my toilet time monitored since I was a child. At first I was rushing back to my desk but now I don't bother. If I need the toilet I'll go and it will take as long as it takes!

ShinyPinkLipgloss thank you. That's really lovely to hear. I'd love to work somewhere like that. I need to start looking asap it seems. Will likely be here for a while longer with my three month notice period :(

OP posts:

notapizzaeater · 16/10/2018 08:56

That's madness, have your 'billable hours' dropped ? How they think you can do your job properly I'd beyond me.


Trethew · 16/10/2018 08:58

You said upthread you’re a fee earner. So how do they charge your time if you’re answering 50-70 calls a day for other people's Clients?


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 08:59

notapizzaeater we don't work off billable hours in conveyancing as it's a set fee but the system does record them anyway.

They have dropped but when I go into another case on the system to assist with a phone call it records it so whilst it looks like I'm still doing work, a lot of the percentage is actually just looking through other people's files.

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MumW · 16/10/2018 09:01

Get your CV out there asap. You have to go to work every day, you'll drive yourself insane if you don't LTB.


Bluelady · 16/10/2018 09:03

I'd definitely be liking for my next job if I were you. If clients are getting pissed off with it, they'll vote with their feet too. Only a complete idiot would think it's a good use of fee earners' time to answer random phones.


Bluelady · 16/10/2018 09:05

Looking even!


TheOrigFV45 · 16/10/2018 09:05

Bollocks to that. 70 calls?

Perhaps they should employ more staff. I really should be in charge


Oysterbabe · 16/10/2018 09:09

I can see why they scrapped voicemail as you always get a lot of lazy fuckers who never pick up their phone. In our place your calls go to your direct dial first then bounce to someone on your team if not answered. No one really minds helping out clients for someone on your team as it all evens out in the end.


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 09:14

Oysterbabe I wouldn't mind that sort of system. it's the daft free for all that I don't understand.

I can be trying to answer queries on someone's matter from across the office who I rarely even speak to let alone assist with their cases.

OP posts:
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