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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

Make wellbeing a thing

15 May 19

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

Mental Health Awareness Week comes round again this month. Those seeking to raise awareness of the related issues have achieved considerable success in recent years – but to what extent have practical results followed?

Many legal firms now proclaim an emphasis on staff wellbeing, though we have heard suggestions that such concern is not always experienced by those on the front line. In a large organisation, it can be difficult to translate principles into practice with a measure of consistency; so what can be done?

At the end of the day, staff wellbeing has to become a matter of culture. This month, for example, LawCare writes (p 24) on embedding a focus on wellbeing into performance reviews and other communication channels – and if these don’t exist, they ought to – as a means of ensuring the acceptance and recognition of mental health and stress-related issues as matters that it is fine to discuss openly.

There may be unconscious as well as conscious resistance. Most professions are inherently stressful in requiring the deployment of specialist skills for the benefit of an often-demanding section of the public, and law is right up there, given unpredictable levels of demand for services and the tight deadlines often involved. And a measure of stress can help to ensure a focus on getting the job done – just as when monthly magazine deadlines loom! Thus there will be those who are quite comfortable with a measure of stress and may assume that colleagues are no worse off, certainly not to the extent of needing targeted support. But that lack of awareness can be just as detrimental as someone who pooh-poohs the very idea that people should need help in coping with the demands of their career.

The long hours culture that took hold in the 80s and 90s is no longer as dominant, but it is not dead. Organisations of all types need to be continually re-examining their working practices, employee care policies, and their opportunities to express any concerns, for mental health and wellbeing to be treated with the seriousness they deserve.

Civil Online takes off

Major IT projects are not noted for running to schedule, and court users have been kept waiting for the Civil Online system just introduced for simple procedure claims.

In mitigation, the new system has required some rethinking of the rules themselves, and has been subjected to user testing to try and ensure a successful launch. As this month’s lead feature indicates, those already using the system can report early benefits. To have launched it is an achievement, and it is to be hoped that solicitors will respond both by trying it out and by feeding back to help the court authorities focus on further improvements.

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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