70, and counting
8 Jul 19
The Society is in good shape as it turns 70, though uncertainty lies ahead
This month’s Journal magazine is a special issue commemorating the Law Society of Scotland’s platinum (70th) anniversary. We are using it both to take a look at the Society itself, and more importantly its membership, now highly diverse and specialised, practising in all parts of the world, and facing a constantly changing working environment. All these aspects are reflected in our features.
The cover of each copy will feature one of the two winning designs (one from the profession, one from the schools category) in our competition to design the cover for this issue. A selection of the entries appears on p 30 of the magazine. My thanks to everyone who took part – the judging was an enjoyable diversion from the usual routine!
It was interesting, but not surprising, how many of the entries focused on certain familiar themes – the figure of justice; catching baddies; gavels (cringe); but, rather charmingly, some of the children thought of the law as meaning child protection, recognising how it can relate to them. Relevance of rights to daily life is something of which lawyers are constantly seeking to raise awareness.
What shape is the Society in at 70? Pretty fighting fit, I would say. You may not think me entirely impartial, though I sit at arm’s length. However I do believe it is only when you see the Society up close that you appreciate just how much it does for the profession and public, and the dedication of its staff and volunteers.
That does not deter those who believe that professional regulation should be organised differently. Thus we have the Roberton proposals, on which to its credit the Scottish Government has decided to attempt to find some consensus of approach, despite what it accepts are the “polarised” views surrounding whether the legal professional bodies should continue in their present form.
So the Society enters its next decade facing uncertainty as to what it will look like by the end of it. However, if you recall where we were a decade ago, when the profession was bitterly divided over the introduction of alternative business structures – which for reasons then unforeseen, have still to make an appearance this side of the border – you will know that it has survived more immediate and serious threats.
It appears that most members attach great importance to its regulatory muscle and, while they may grumble at the burden, would prefer that to some outside body over whose rules, and costs, they have little, if any, influence. And as long as the Society continues to be seen as also setting high standards of public service, it may yet survive intact. Many happy returns.