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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:

Bluntness100 · 17/10/2018 21:53

I think they have changed your role without your permission or agreement op. And as such there is a legal case to answer to. Which is odd for a legal firm.

You say you are a conveyancer, but right now on thr stats quoted you spend on average six hours a day answering the phone. If you then factor in a one hour lunch break and two fifteen min shorter breaks this means you work for approx 30 mins per day on actual conveyancing. If you add loo breaks in, then it's less than 30 mins.

They even state you work in the phone pool. In addition they treat you like you work in a call centre inc monitoring the way you handle calls.

As such I do think there is a grievance here because this is not a conveyancers role you now have, you are a first line call handler in the phone pool.

Can you speak to acas? What does your contract say? This is not advocating tasks, this is basically your whole job now.


emmakc1977 · 17/10/2018 21:57

Are u a legal exec or a paralegal and did u start off as legal sec at the firm? If you were then it sounds like the powers that be are having trouble accepting that you are now a fee earner and if this is the case I would leave and start a fresh where you have only been known as few earner. Ive seen this happen a lot and it’s very unfair


Gwenhwyfar · 17/10/2018 22:21

"not being rude but you are really just an office worker so answering calls will be part of your work."

She's already said that she's a conveyancer not an admin person. However, a normal admin role doesn't include 70 calls that are meant for various people the admin worker has no connection to and outside their department. That sounds more like a call centre, or possibly reception.


ShalomJackie · 17/10/2018 22:22

Bluntness100 - although there may be lunch breaks in a law firm there are no other breaks!

In most "factory" style firms whether it is conveyancing/plot sales or personal claims it is very much a pool/claim centre set up and done at cheap fixed fees (as driven by public demand) and consequently the service is shocking and also the highest amount of negligence claims arise on property matters.

I would leave before the firm gets the reputation of being one of those type firms and get into a regular conveyancing department.


RenoSusan · 17/10/2018 23:22

What kind of headset do you have? Is it a quick disconnect? If so don't put anyone on hold-just ask them to hold and disconnect so the computer reads it as on line.


CakeAndTea1 · 18/10/2018 06:38

Funnily enough, to the person that asked, I did start in the post room straight out of school. That was at another firm though and I was well into conveyancing when I joined this place. I assisted a fee earner when I first started here and then progressed from there.

Thanks Bluntness. That's interesting and very true it seems. It is practically impossible to do the job. Unless you do overtime and take the work home of a weekend which I think is what they hope for. My supervisor must be extremely stressed as she also has her own matters but has to pretty much assist everyone else on our team now too.

I need to locate my contract and have a read though tbh I'm steering towards just getting my CV out.

There's just one hour for lunch but you often end up not taking it to get things done. No other breaks in the day.

The head set is just a plain one I think. Nothing fancy. You just press a key on the handset to answer. I did sneakily ring my own mobile once so it looked like I was on the phone so I could get on with something but they told us they were starting listening in to random calls so I was too nervous to do it again haha.

OP posts:

Cutietips · 18/10/2018 07:45

The thing is though it seems like it’s not really related to allowing anyone at the same level to pick up each other’s calls. If that were the case, you wouldn’t be getting more calls than before, you’d just be getting unfamiliar calls. To me it sounds like they have got rid of a layer of administrative/call centre staff and passed that work onto you. I never get this idea that you get rid of cheaper admin people and then pass the work onto more expensive professional staff; but then it wouldn’t give management gurus scope to introduce efficiencies and appear to reduce headcount magically. No wonder productivity in the UK is so poor with these ridiculous working practices.

I’d look for another job in a smaller, more traditional firm. You’ll burn out eventually.


Lillyringlet · 18/10/2018 19:29

Honest question but has the firm been recently bought out? Sounds like what they have done in purpose to make people leave in a bid to not pay redundancy... Two years is generally the time line is seen for this play and it is awful


Beanstalkk · 19/10/2018 07:10

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CakeAndTea1 · 19/10/2018 07:13

Lillyringlet no, not bought out. And I did think was it something like that except they recently sent round a copy of a business news paper article about how our profits have gone up by X percent etc... recently.

I find it funny because about a year and a half ago, before all this went on, we took part in the 'best companies to work for' survey done by one of the major newspapers. We actually got well within the top 100 and they put it on all our email sign offs. It's not the same place at all though now.

OP posts:

CheungS255 · 02/11/2018 22:46

thats strange. i recently bought a house and when i call, it goes to a call handler who then pass my call to my case handler. worth checking what your portfolio is but if you stir up too much fuss, you might end up badly

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