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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

Mind the gap

9 Apr 18

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

As Britain’s large employers disclose their pay statistics under the Gender Pay Gap Regulations, the Law Society of Scotland has just reported a median gap of 21% in favour of men. Across the board, figures have ranged from 80% in favour of men to those employers – about 14%, apparently – who have a pay gap in favour of women.

Opinion has been divided as to the value of the exercise. If it has brought to light cases that would found an equal pay claim, or where men have been paid much larger bonuses without real justification, the regulations will have served some purpose. There are also those who argue that the whole profile of the issue has been raised, giving women greater confidence to challenge their own situation if they feel poorly treated. It may also bring a renewed focus on the respective caring roles of the genders and the level of support that should be provided.

But the figures can also be very misleading. The biggest issue is that the crude percentages are frequently read as a measure of discriminatory treatment. Yet if more women than men happen to be working part time, no allowance is made for this; likewise if gender equality (by numbers) has not yet reached the higher levels of an organisation, something which is now the subject of separate and increasingly active monitoring. There is not even a comparison of like-for-like jobs or qualifications. (For an interesting critique of the regulations, see for example our blog of the month on p 8.)

Gender pay gap reporting could play a much more meaningful role. By focusing more on true comparisons it would expose more effectively the remaining cases of real discrimination, while highlighting the disadvantages in career progression faced by women who take the greater burden of family responsibilities – the annual Journal employment survey of the profession, which we report on each December, has turned up some interesting data.

This year the Society will run the successor to its 2013 Profile of the Profession survey, the results from which have steered much of its equality and diversity work over the years since. It is to be hoped that the methodology, and the analysis, will enable a more accurate picture to be drawn of where we are and where action is needed than the Gender Pay Gap Regulations seem likely to produce.


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Blog archive

15 May 19

Make wellbeing a thing

Staff wellbeing in legal firms has to become a matter of culture, with supporting mechanisms in place

8 Apr 19

Law for people

The dignity of the law has come before the dignity of those caught up in its processes. What might happen if that were reversed?

12 Mar 19

Shape your future

Despite the uncertainty, it would benefit legal firms to think proactively about how to react to Brexit

11 Feb 19

Flexible is possible

As this month's lead feature illustrates, large and small firms alike can operate flexible working practices, and there appear to be few issues with clients when they do

14 Jan 19

Seeking the positive

A bit of flexibility and imagination can achieve things this year, whether for a business in the face of Brexit or for employees to improve their work-life balance, and wellbeing

3 Dec 18

A turbulent Christmas

Depressing divisions and a lack of clear thinking dominate the Brexit scene. But (stop press) there is something positive in the official reaction to the legal aid review

7 Nov 18

Put to the test

The Society's position as regulator will come under renewed scrutiny following the Roberton report, but the report itself should equally be subjected to proper scrutiny

9 Oct 18

Under siege

After the extra money announced for prosecutors and then the police, something has to be done now for the defence sector

10 Sep 18

Programme for action?

How much can we expect to happen through the Scottish Government's Programme for Government?

6 Aug 18

No deal, no say?

The arguments for a second EU referendum apply with greater force in a "no deal" scenario