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Editor's blog

Hold tight for 2018

9 Jan 18

Get set for another rollercoaster ride through the year

I expect that by the time you read this, 2018 will be well into its stride, and offer my best wishes that it works out well for each one of you.

To do so, it will have to defy quite a lot of predictions – our employment survey that we reported on last month found that in almost all types of organisation, private practice or in-house, more solicitors expected things to get worse over the following 12 months than to improve.

Brexit is clearly casting a shadow for many – only a small percentage expect it to benefit their organisation, though in addition to the “don’t knows”, a sizeable minority see it as making no difference. However, there is no doubt that clients will increasingly want advice on how to prepare for change, even ahead of knowing what form that change will take, and those who can equip themselves to meet that need will stand to gain, whatever their views on the wisdom of leaving the EU.

For hard-pressed legal aid lawyers, whose prospects are more heavily, and directly, dependent on decisions taken by Government, there is at least the hope that the independent review under Martyn Evans, due to report in the spring, will conclude that improved funding is needed to ensure the future viability of the sector. Even if it does, that would not in itself secure an increase in public funds, though we could certainly hope for a less hostile climate of public debate around the subject.

The results of the other main review, by Esther Roberton of the regulation of legal services, will likely take rather longer to reach implementation, and practices will meantime have to continue to compete as best they can in a partly unregulated market.

On top of all that we face the ongoing, and increasing, pace of change on the IT front. This could be beneficial in many ways, if promised developments in the courts and at Registers of Scotland, to name but two, come to fruition, even if the new GDPR rules present yet another administrative challenge.

In short, if you have experienced recent times as years of turbulence, then like it or not, 2018 seems set to deliver more of the same. But keeping a cool head through the turbulence and looking out for the new opportunities that are bound to exist, should stand most businesses in good stead. Those “Keep calm and...” messages have plenty of life in them yet.

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Blog archive

9 Jan 18

Hold tight for 2018

Get set for another rollercoaster ride through the year

4 Dec 17

Trends and revelations

From the Journal employment survey: sexual harassment must be taken seriously

9 Nov 17

Mergers and markets

After the Maclays-Dentons merger, what now for the independent Scottish legal firm?

9 Oct 17

For the greater good

The profession should support those who attempt to improve the lot of the most vulnerable

11 Sep 17

Brexit and the legal order

Government recognition of the need to continue civil judicial cooperation with EU countries after Brexit is welcome, but how can it exclude the involvement of the CJEU?

7 Aug 17

Taking access to justice seriously

The House of Lords decision on employment tribunal fees elevates this constitutional principle

10 Jul 17

Advance of the courts

There is momentum behind civil procedure reform, and practitioners need to be alert to have their say

12 Jun 17

Defend our rights

Don't sacrifice rights to combat terrorism; welcome to Edinburgh for the UK Supreme Court

8 May 17

Review time

Patience will be needed as regards the outcome of the new review of legal services regulation, but there is much for the profession to concern itself with meantime

10 Apr 17

Complaints about the Commission

It is not surprising that solicitors are complaining about the SLCC budget and levy – but what should be done?

13 Mar 17

Crack this one

Digitising summary criminal business is a tough nut to crack, but a bold attempt has been made

13 Feb 17

Imbalance of power

These days, all lawyers may need to be ready to take a stand in defence of the rule of law