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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

Put to the test

7 Nov 18

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

First of all, you will see that your Journal has a new and different look this month. The magazine was due a refresh, and with input from the Society and the solicitors on the editorial board we are now using Uni Neue as the principal font. We welcome feedback on the effect.

It is the Society itself that would have a new and different look if the proposals in Esther Roberton’s review of legal services regulation are given effect. Not surprisingly they have already been the subject of much public discussion, and there is bound to be ongoing coverage beyond what we bring you in this edition.

Debate will focus squarely on the desirability or otherwise of having an independent regulator for what all agree should be an independent profession. There is no doubt that there are strong currents that are pulling in that direction. Roberton cites authority influential in Government circles that that is the future, as well as what she believes to be the direction of travel internationally, and no doubt sees herself as taking the bold approach in concluding that Scotland should make the change in a single leap rather than in stages as elsewhere.

At the same time there remain strong arguments against outside regulation, both in principle and at a practical level, yet any proper discussion or analysis of these is difficult to find in the report. For example, major concerns were raised in Ireland (and beyond) only a few years ago, when a reform bill there aimed to place elements of control fairly starkly in the hands of Government, yet Roberton appears to see only the consumerist perspective that the bill was simply watered down in the face of an orchestrated campaign from the profession.

The profession has a handicap in such a debate, having to combat the perception that it is acting out of self interest as well as the beguilingly simple appeal of having an external body that appears to hold the ring between profession and public. And it needs to be seen to be willing to accept, and work with, some form of official external scrutiny such as an ombudsman if policymakers decide that such should be created. But the values of independence from institutions of state that its members might have to challenge on behalf of citizens, of regulation reflecting high professional and ethical standards while informed by an understanding of the impact on practice, and of upholding the considerable public protections that the present system permits, should not be put at risk in the pursuit of a consumerist agenda.

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Blog archive

7 Oct 19

High noon

The welcome decision of the UK Supreme Court in the prorogation case shows the need for a court free from political influence

9 Sep 19

Courts and politics

Courts should be able to intervene if an abuse of power threatens the balance between executive and legislature

12 Aug 19

Constitutional meltdown?

The fundamentals of our constitution should not be put at risk simply in order to achieve Brexit by the scheduled date

8 Jul 19

70, and counting

The Society is in good shape as it turns 70, though uncertainty lies ahead

12 Jun 19

Uncovering the unacceptable

Our self-styled ethical profession has a problem of bullying and harassment. Can it be treated as a question of fitness to practise?

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