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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

Law for people

8 Apr 19

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

It gives me some pleasure this month to be able to report on the uplifting presentations given on their recent visit by the American judges, Ginger Lerner-Wren and Victoria Pratt. They run different types of court, but with the common feature of placing the dignity of the person appearing before them at the centre of what they do.

It would be easy to be cynical about the likely benefits of such an approach, and no one, least of all the judges themselves, is claiming it as a panacea through which every offender will emerge from court a reformed character. But there are so many life circumstances that can contribute to someone finding themselves in trouble, and even our own, perhaps more care-focused, system is not necessarily designed (and/or resourced) to uncover these and respond in the most appropriate way.

Judges are of all types. Some do indeed make notable efforts to do things a bit differently for an offender, and it can be cautiously suggested that the more notorious figures of not so long ago no longer have their modern incarnations. If the training provided by the Judicial Institute is a factor in that, so much the better. So we are not suggesting that our American cousins have brought some great vision hitherto hidden from our eyes; and they in turn insisted that they were here to learn as well as to share their own wisdom and experience.

At the same time, and with all due allowance for the cultural differences that make it difficult to conceive of some of their favourite case histories being re-enacted in a Scottish court, it was the basic humanity at the heart of their approach that shone through and, let it be admitted, is not something our training as lawyers nurtures. The dignity of the law has come before the dignity of those caught up in its processes. Who knows, re-examining that fundamental point might achieve something remarkable.

AI extends its reach

We are by now used to hearing predictions, and increasingly of actual instances, of how artificial intelligence will affect legal practice in the coming years. Less appears to have been written about its impact on key legal concepts, though the Law Commissions have embarked on an in-depth look at how to cope with self-driving vehicles. Recently, Lord Hodge has delivered some illuminating analysis in a lecture, and raises the question, taken up in our lead feature, of the ability of the common law to cope. We are all likely to be affected; and it will be crucial to devise the means to keep the law abreast of the science.

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Blog archive

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

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