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Society blog

21 Feb 18

Scottish Legal International comes to fruition

Joint initiative aims to promote Scottish profession internationally

30 Aug 17

A paralegal's tale

Janet Rieu-Clarke, the Law Society’s accredited paralegal, explains the path that led her to new role at the Society and the rationale behind the new accredited paralegal status.

30 Aug 17

A call to vote from John Scott

John Scott QC urges his fellow solicitor advocates to vote for their dedicated representative

29 Aug 17

No globalisation without representation...

Katie Hay discusses the globalisation of the legal market and urges Scottish solicitors working internationally, to get involved

24 Jul 17

Bringing the world to "world-class"

Sarah Sutton, digital communications executive at the Law Society of Scotland, talks about her bright idea to ensure international representation on the Society’s Council

26 Jun 17

The Debate - backstage, front of house and top tips

In this mini-series of blogs, three key players in the Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament share their individual perspectives of the event.

19 Jun 17

Got a passion for the profession?

Could one of the 23 current vacancies for 16 different committees be just right for you?

28 Apr 17

Professional Practice - advising the advisers

Scottish solicitors help their clients through some of the most momentous occasions of their lives, personal or professional, good or bad. But where do solicitors turn for support? Prof Prac, that's where.

1 Nov 16

How getting involved in debating can change your life

Head of education Rob Marrs explains how getting involved in debating, whether as competitor or judge, can be incredibly rewarding. And more importantly, he explains how to win a debate.

14 Oct 16

Career development and volunteering at the Law Society of Scotland

If you want to enhance your career, develop your skills or just give back to your profession, there are lots of different personal and professional development opportunities at the Society

Editors Blog

For the greater good

9 Oct 17

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

Last month’s annual conference of the Society, titled “For the greater good”, expressly set out to rekindle the desire to do justice that has inspired many to embark on a legal career.

While it embraced a wide range of topics, it could be said that a common theme linking the keynote presentations was the pursuit of excellence and the need to be constantly innovating to achieve success in today’s world.

Lord Carloway’s determined pursuit of reform, of the courts themselves and of the rules of evidence and procedure by which they operate; Philip Rodney’s vision of a bold and dynamic profession; the Lord Advocate’s insistence on high standards for the prosecution service; Katherine Grainger’s tribute that solicitors “deserve a gold medal every day for what you do”: each i their own way contained encouragement for those who heard them through those times when, as happens, the pace and the pressures all feel a bit too much to cope with.

If these seem daunting, how would you feel if confronted with real injustice and no apparent way to overcome it? Yet such issues are part of daily life for some of our colleagues. The panel session “Access to Justice: Helping the vulnerable and those most in need” perhaps deserved plenary status, as it went to the heart of the conference theme. Aamer Anwar and the Legal Services Agency’s Paul Brown, two of the contributors, left their audience in no doubt that unless the disadvantaged in society have someone behind them to help them defend their rights, they will probably be ignored or, worse, treated callously by the system.

It is not just the headline cases we are talking about. Think, for example, of the growing volume of concern at the risks of ordinary people suffering if the large-scale rollout of universal credit is pushed through before the system is ready to cope. Standard Government assurances that everything is under control are being questioned even by some within the governing party. Who will take up the cause if the fears are realised?

Of course the cutbacks on legal aid do not help, even if we in Scotland have been spared the worst of those imposed south of the border. Our own legal aid sector is hardly thriving, and this is one issue on which repeated protests to Government have had little impact. Which only adds to the challenge.

“Freedom and justice aren’t handed to you on a plate,” said Anwar. “Legal aid is an issue for everyone, not just those who need it,” Brown added.

“For the greater good” is something to which we can all contribute. A profession speaking as one, speaks louder.


Have your say

Blog archive

9 Apr 18

Mind the gap

Do the Gender Pay Gap Regulations provide enough useful information to justify their approach?

12 Mar 18

Case to be made

If the independent legal aid review could not find evidence to support a general rise in fees, what should the response be?

9 Feb 18

Crunch time

The independent reports due in the next few months will be an indication of how the profession is seen from outside

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