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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:

Miyajima98 · 17/10/2018 18:12

This sounds awful for you AND the customers, and is terrible management of people. I would start looking elsewhere straight away and meanwhile log everything so that you can tell it back to them in your exit interview - they need to hear how this is affecting staff morale and wellbeing.


Volant · 17/10/2018 18:13

When your boss makes a nasty or incriminating comment face to face, it might be worth recording it in an email to him - something along the lines of "Just confirming what you just told me ..." or "Just want to check there are no misunderstandings ....". That way he either has to come back to you to deny he said it - which effectively means he has to withdraw it - or ignore it. If he ignores it, he won't be able to deny it in future as the obviously question would be why he didn't put you right immediately on receipt of the message.


nonetworkaccess · 17/10/2018 18:28

Is there some secret school for "managers" that turns out absolute idiots and puts them in charge these days?

Can the union help? I worked for a smaller firm that didn't "allow" unions but I still joined the GMB. I'm glad I did as they were a lifesaver when my manager (a founding member of the school for idiots, I'm sure) started causing problems.


Middersweekly · 17/10/2018 18:33

That is a rediculous system and I would start looking for another job.


livingthegoodlife · 17/10/2018 18:47

Sounds horrendous. Look for a new job asap. I find even calls which relate to my matters to be very disruptive know certain days, I can't imagine taking calls on colleagues matters!

I'd be concerned about this streamlining too, what other cutbacks are they going to make?

Reputation matters, especially as a conveyancer - jump ship!


BlueJava · 17/10/2018 18:55

I would be preparing my CV and looking for another role. However, think carefully how you explain why you want to leave your current role to a potential new employer - don't complain but I usually come up with something about wanting career progression or more responsibility or whatever.


Sara107 · 17/10/2018 19:15

As a client it would be completely unacceptable to me not to be able to phone the solicitor doing my conveyancing and speak either to them, their secretary or legal assistant ie someone who is actually involved in my case. It would not give me any confidence in that organisation if I had to start every phone conversation explaining myself and the background to why I’m ringing. You won’t be able to give a good service OP, look for another job.


CakeAndTea1 · 17/10/2018 19:15

Jimdandy haha no, that's not us but I know who you mean.

Thing is our firm was always so proud of itself for it's reputation for retaining staff and now they've just completely turned the place upside down and damaged it. People are leaving pretty much fortnightly now. When I started, they hadn't lost anyone for years.

All about the money though I guess.

OP posts:

MsLexic · 17/10/2018 19:25

Sounds awful... how could you ever concentrate? Why don't they get a bloody receptionist?


CakeAndTea1 · 17/10/2018 19:27

MsLexic they have two receptionists for the whole firm (full service law firm) and are told that any calls for conveyancing should just be put straight into the pool.

You can concentrate. I've been getting to emails today which I received 2 weeks ago.

OP posts:

CitrusFruit9 · 17/10/2018 19:30

Yes definitely leave. This factory approach is not appropriate for legal work.


NewPapaGuinea · 17/10/2018 19:35

So they implemented an entirely new system on the basis that too many calls were going to answerphone? Did they look at why this was the case and try and address that problem before they threw this debacle in? I can guess they did not! Very poor management as the original problem still exists, but in a different (worse) manner.


grumiosmum · 17/10/2018 19:59

70 calls a day is one every 6 minutes. If each call is, say 90 seconds long, I can see that it would be impossible to do any proper work!


pteradactyl · 17/10/2018 20:04

Yanbu. I used to get between 40 and 80 calls a day and be expected to do a large amount of work, but it was impossible. Silly errors were being made which were making management shout people down in the office and the whole thing made me feel ill. I left and I've never looked back. My "new" job is a million times better, the people are nicer, the hours are better, the wages are higher...dont regret my decision even a tiny bit


GabsAlot · 17/10/2018 20:09

if this has beenhappening for a year id say get out whats the point of trying to permanently catch up with work and being stressed


GeorgeTheHippo · 17/10/2018 20:09

I'm a solicitor, though not in private practice any longer. I think you need to leave.


maddiemookins16mum · 17/10/2018 20:14

Blimey, 70 a day!! I receive some inbound calls at work (not a call centre) and the average time per call is SIX minutes by the time you’ve looked, logged it, spoken to the customer, typed up any notes etc etc.
Are you first on the loop - that can sometimes be an issue as it goes to you first then to the next person.



Jux · 17/10/2018 20:37

Gosh, I used to work (briefly) in a press office of a firm very much on the front page every day at the time. We got that many calls a day and there were 3 of us fielding them. We couldn't have done a serious job on top of it, simply impossible to concentrate.


Keepingthingsinteresting · 17/10/2018 20:45

Unfortunately this is the way conveyancing is going (except v high end/high value) - the margins are too low. I’m not normally one to take things lying down, but in reality keeping notes, pushing back isn’t going to change it. Protect yourself as best you can & get another job asap


ToftyAC · 17/10/2018 20:46

OP the problem is the Upper echelons of solicitors’ practices. I’ve worked in several different legal firms over the past 20 years and, although this is more extreme, tbh all firms have some sort of policy quirk that is almost unbearable. However, this is an utterly ridiculous- and a bit dangerous - policy and in your shoes I’d be off to somewhere slightly more sensible


LouH1981 · 17/10/2018 20:50

I’m a criminal defence solicitor and thus sounds ridiculous! It is not an efficient use of a fee earners time. Is it effecting your time recording/billing?
Doesn’t sound like the clients are getting the consistent/personal approach that is expected these days either.
How do the other few earners feel?
If enough of you agree, it might be worth having a meeting with your head of dept. At the end of the day, if you end up not meeting your target because you are fielding calls then it’s not good for you or them.
I’m totally with you and don’t understand why anyone would think this is a good idea!
And as for the chasing are practising law not working in a call centre! Granted I’m not in the same area as you but this would def wind me up!


lolalilo · 17/10/2018 21:11

Sounds awful to me, and I'm a legal recruiter working across the south of the UK.

I can't imagine any of my candidates being happy with that environment.

If you fancy a change, message me, seriously!


MsMotherOfDragons · 17/10/2018 21:23

It sounds dreadful!

Quite apart from the terrible working practices, I'd be alarmed by the total lack of response to employee feedback and determination to push on with an organisational 'strategy' regardless of the true cost in client (dis)satisfction and employee burnout!

And I mean, if they were having a problem with staff not returning client calls, surely they could just have managed those staff properly to sort out the problem?! Rather than burdening everyone else with this ridiculously inefficient and stressful system...


stressedoutpa · 17/10/2018 21:23

Totally impossible situation.

This was one of many problems in my last job. Calls for everyone (bar a couple of people) were routed through me. Reception would also call to advise me visitors were in Reception for people I didn't even work directly for because it was my job.

Most companies have binned their staff because 'admin is easy' and 'anyone can do it'. No appreciation of how complex things can be or time consuming. Ho hum.... I'm out of it now.....

We binned my parents' estate agent because calls went through to a call centre. It was an utter nightmare trying to speak to the same person twice. This approach might improve cost efficiencies but it does not improve customer loyalty.

I would look for another job pronto.


Mixedbags · 17/10/2018 21:37

I feel for you. I am in a similar situation that is I suspect is about to get worse (new telephone system sold as the holy grail-it sounds sh**!)! These people bring these ideas in and don’t actually do the jobs to see if it’s workable. It’s madness. I work in a sensitive type of job role too! I think my situation is very similar to McDonalds fast food computer system. It does not work! In my opinion the old system at McDonalds worked so much better! A lot of A/E departments seem to be like this. One person can only do one job but you need 3 jobs doing and it takes forever for the other 2 people to appear. Why can’t the one person do the 3 jobs? (Which is what used to happen)? Rant over! 🙄

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