Lapp

Lapp is an online portal for communicating with and uploading documents to LodgeX as online settlement agents.

What is Lapp?

Lapp is an online portal for communicating with and uploading documents to LodgeX as online settlement agents.

What type of technology?

Online portal

Vendor

LodgeX Pty Ltd

Country of origin

Australia

Similar tech products

Infotrack – SettleIT

Non-tech alternatives

N/A – online settlements require the use of technology.

Which practitioners would find this technology useful?

Practitioners needing to use the PEXA and SRO online portals without having their own log-ins for either portal.

How does it work?

Once an account and a profile is created with LodgeX, practitioners commence the process by logging into Lapp and starting a new booking with LodgeX.  Practitioners can select from a range transactions such as lodging or removing caveats, survivorship applications, deceased estates and sale or purchase transactions.

Once the transaction is selected, a transaction summary form is completed which sets out key information about the transaction, including firm details, client details, lender details and SRO details.  This replaces the need to send an email brief to LodgeX.

Key documents are then uploaded, such as Contracts of Sale, VOI reports, client authorisations, trust deeds etc.

Based on the information provided, LodgeX then creates a PEXA workspace for the matter and, if required, send or accept the SRO invitation for the online SRO process.  As the matter progresses, further documents can be uploaded by either the practitioner or LodgeX, such as statement of adjustments, final invoices, nomination forms, ATO clearance certificates etc.

Although a key aim of Lapp is to keep communications lean in that much of the necessary information is provided through uploading the essential documents to Lapp, Lapp also has a messaging system that is specific to each matter.  That allows a quick and easy way for the practitioner and LodgeX to communicate with one another over the course of the matter.

Benefits

Although a party could act as an agent for a practitioner in conducting an online settlement on its behalf, the communications would have to be via email and telephone.  Lapp streamlines the communications process between the practitioner and the settlement agent, thereby making the process much more time efficient.  Also, Lapp provides a useful quick overview of all the various matters as they approach settlement.  An additional benefit of the LodgeX service is that practitioners get the benefit of LodgeX’s trust account, meaning funds can flow through their account as part of the settlement processes without the practitioner needing their own trust account.

Risks

As with any agency arrangement, the practitioner still remains liable for the actions of LodgeX.  If a mistake is made in the settlement process by LodgeX, the practitioner may still be liable to the client.  As banking details can be supplied via Lapp, the risk of hacking is also one that practitioners should be live to (as occurred in a few early instances with PEXA before multi-factor authentication was introduced).  Practitioners should ensure that the banking details are double checked and ideally confirmed with LodgeX via another form of communication (such as via telephone).  Practitioners should also use robust passwords for their log-ins and keep them secure.  As with all cloud software, keeping client information secure and confidential is an obligation of practitioners that is being passed onto LodgeX as a sub-contractor and practitioners should ensure that their terms of use with LodgeX satisfactorily protect them in this regards.

Downsides

Probably the key downside with Lapp and the LodgeX arrangements more generally is that the practitioner has no visibility into the PEXA workspace.  That means that there can be delays in receiving messages that are flowing between the parties who are in the PEXA workspace. It also means that the practitioner is not able to double check the documentation and numbers uploaded into PEXA by the various parties, in particular the Destination Line Items.  This means the practitioner is very reliant on LodgeX and the communications between LodgeX and the practioner are very important in terms of being accurate.  Some practitioners may not feel comfortable with such a lack of visibility.  There is also an amount of double handling of information that may occur between the parties which, aside from the time impact for the practitioner, can also create more opportunity for input errors.  This means that care must be taken at all times: using LodgeX as an online settlement agent does not mean that the practitioner can outsource care and responsibility for the matter.

Of course, the solution to these downsides is for the practitioner to have their own PEXA and SRO log-ins and do these processes themselves.  For practitioners who do not regularly do such work, LodgeX and Lapp provides a way to accept this sort of legal work without the cost and inconvenience of setting up and learning how to use these various online portals.