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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:

pencilpot99 · 16/10/2018 09:17

If you answer 50 calls per day and each call lasts, say, 10 minutes? that's over 8 hours per day just on the phone; no breaks for loo, lunch etc. Are you sure that's accurate? The system does sound bonkers, and I'm not surprised you're pissed off and thinking about leaving, but if you want to make a proper complaint first maybe spend a week logging accurately exactly how many calls you answer each day, how long you're on the phone for etc. so you're not accused of exaggeration and have your concerns dismissed without being listened to.


SillySallySingsSongs · 16/10/2018 09:22

Haven't you another thread like this?

Seems a bit of coincidence as it's virtually the same circumstances in the same sort of office in the same sector.


ShotsFired · 16/10/2018 09:27

I can't imagine a solicitors work is a quick 5 min email or outbound call to resolve after every phone call. It sounds like a call centre not a solicitors office.

I used a conveyancer that DID have a call centre and it was a total nightmare. You had to navigate the stupid IVR system first, then wait on hold to speak to anyone, and when you did they were just a first line call handler with no knowledge of any cases at all, little more than message takers - except the messages rarely got passed on or calls returned; and those that did were usually inaccurate because the call agent had no idea of the processes so were a useless layman trying to transcribe conveyancing terminology.

So a simple question or clarification could actually take days to resolve.

Even writing about it makes me angry still...


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 09:29

SillySallySingsSongs no, I've already said up thread that I read the other thread and wrote this one as I saw similarities.

I work in conveyancing, they were a building surveyor I believe. Either way I'm definitely not the same poster and I'd happily ask MN to confirm if needs be.

pencilpot99 I'd say the average is around 5 minutes with possibly less if it needs to be transferred to the person dealing or is just an easy update i.e. the system is clear and it's an estate agent for example. There are also times of the day like lunchtime (we work alternate lunches so one day I'll work 12-1 the other 1-2) where you literally put it down and it rings again immediately.

On the day's I take around 50. I miss about 10-15 at the least and on busier times or days take around 65-70 a day. I've had days where I've gone to my supervisor and given her my files due for completion that day and said she would have to deal with them because I don't have capacity.

OP posts:

Inertia · 16/10/2018 09:31

So instead of waiting a few hours to get a call back from the person dealing with their case, the client now has to spend hours on the phone multiple times explaining their situation and getting bounced from pillar to post? Utterly ridiculous situation. It makes no sense at all for every single highly trained , expensive legal professional to have to spend hours investigating multiple cases and repeating everybody else’s work, just to fit in with a phone system.

However, based on the other thread, I’m expecting a couple of hundred posts from people who are far more senior than you and getting paid more than you but they answer the phone so you are just being uppity...


Inertia · 16/10/2018 09:35

It sounds like everybody taking their incomplete work to their supervisors at the end of each day might be the only way to get the message through that you cannot complete your own workload and also spend all day answering the phones and repeating work pointlessly.


Racecardriver · 16/10/2018 09:38

You really need to find a different job. They are probably going to go out if nusibess/drastically downsize soon anyway.


Racecardriver · 16/10/2018 09:39

If I was a client trying to get in touch with my solicitor and instead got put through to a conveyancer I would be pissed off.


eddielizzard · 16/10/2018 09:40

Absolutely untenable. This is a sinking ship, and I'd be looking for other work.


DianaPrincessOfThemyscira · 16/10/2018 09:42

I work in development for contact centres. This is more call then contact centre workers get and they deal with calls and calls only. Ridiculous way to run an office.

Clearly they enjoy a high turnover rate of staff. Very short sighted.

Everyone needs to complain and give their work they don’t have time for to their seniors. I am aghast at this, truly.


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 09:43

Racecardriver there isn't really any difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer in conveyancing. Either are equally able to carry out your conveyancing and a lot of firms only have a handful of actual Solicitors in comparison to conveyancers.

It's about not being able to speak to the solicitor/conveyancer specifically assigned to your case that's the problem.

OP posts:

Biancadelriosback · 16/10/2018 09:43

I just recently left a job who expected my department to A) work to a target B) answer all our calls C) respond to every email within 30 minutes D) pick up the slack when any and every other department was busy. So while I was trying to do my role, I was also expected to know about every other aspect of the business, quote, do proposals, give directions, know site specific info etc. I didn't mind taking a message but I ended up missing my calls because I'd be knee deep in someone unrelated, I would miss my target and it was chaos. I started writing down all the 'other' calls I took and how long I was dealing with them and totting it up. My manager started 'billing' our time to other departments and it soon stopped. Think I worked out at worst I spend 5 hours of an 8 hour day working on tasks unrelated to my role.
If you haven't left already, record the time you spend not on your work, then if anyone questions why your work isn't done, you have some form of back up


LizzieMacQueen · 16/10/2018 09:57

Sounds like they've invested in a telephone system and are too sheepish to abandon it.

Could this raise GDPR issues - if you're having to look in case files that you're not directly on the engagement team for - I know in my line of work (accountancy) files are restricted to Engagement Team members only, and by that I mean physically listed on the engagement contract.


DGRossetti · 16/10/2018 09:59

If only more people used email (invented in the 1970s) rather than the phone (invented in the 1880s) ...


FluffMagnet · 16/10/2018 10:04

I'd be tempted to ring the SRA helpline and ask what they make of the firm's management - if you're not able to handle your completions because you are being forced to perform support staff roles, I don't think the SRA will be very happy! But I would certainly echo the calls for you to start chasing new jobs. Get out of there and watch them get hammered for PI claim after PI claim. You don't want your name to be associated with a negligent firm. Why is it that law firms always seem to be the worst for employment issues?


Ffiffime · 16/10/2018 10:05

I take that many calls a day but I work in a call centre and it’s my job! I can’t imagine having to take all my calls and do actual conveyancing on top!
I’d definitely look for another job!


JayFul · 16/10/2018 10:19

Are you actually a professional conveyancer or solicitor, or working there in an admin capacity? If it's the latter then, not being rude but you are really just an office worker so answering calls will be part of your work.


e1y1 · 16/10/2018 10:23

YANBU - you are now essentially working in a call centre (take it from someone who worked in one for 11 years) you’re even having you time monitored to the second as to why you’re not available to take calls.

Definitely. 100 percent. Call. Centre.

What you’re describing is completely perfectly normal for a customer service adviser employed in a CC - and over 1 million people in the U.K. do this a job, but if not for you - definitely time to move on.


CaptSkippy · 16/10/2018 10:27

Definitely leave, sooner rather than later. I once had something like thing on one of my jobs for four months. I was burned out after that.

In the mean time, just unplug the phone and shut off email notifications. Delete anything that is not related to your own cases. And if they have a problem you can tell them that you won't have time for your own caseload otherwise.

It's a lose - lose situation anyways, but this way you might keep your sanity and your reputation, before you find something else.


e1y1 · 16/10/2018 10:29

They started asking us to set our phones to certain codes if we were getting up i.e. 'comfort break' for the toilet. We all refuse

Scrap that - you aren’t essentially doing a customer service advisor role in a CC - you ARE doing.


e1y1 · 16/10/2018 10:30

In the mean time, just unplug the phone

You’ll be dismissed for this OP under gross misconduct - call avoidance.


ShalomJackie · 16/10/2018 10:31

You are on a conveyancing factory on fixed fees so they are happy to offer a substandard service.

I would be getting my CV out to proper legal firms who realise that conveyancing is not a conveyer belt and that in fact the most negligence claims come from property transactions.

You don't need to be a mouse in a wheel. Get out asap!


CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 10:40

JayFul I'm a conveyancer or often known as 'fee earner' in conveyancing firms. I don't work in admin. I have files assigned to me that I work on.

I've nothing against doing admin work or helping out with phone calls or mucking in when colleagues are off but this is different, it's not about me feeling like anything is below me etc... It's about the fact I'm finding it impossible to do the job I was hired to do (and which I'm still expected to do) because of new systems which management refuse to accept don't work.

OP posts:

CakeAndTea1 · 16/10/2018 10:44

Why is it that law firms always seem to be the worst for employment issues?

It's strange isn't it! Considering we have an employment law department ourselves.

We don't even have a HR Dept which considering we are a very very large company I find pretty bad. I wouldn't know who to complain to past my head of Dept.

OP posts:

JayFul · 16/10/2018 10:51

@CakeAndTea1 OK, fair enough. Yes it does seem a bad system in that case. I'd be on the look out for a new employer if I were you!

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