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Society blog

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

4 Oct 16

Going international – a Scots lawyer's week at the IBA

John Morgan, a newly qualified solicitor at Brodies, recently received a scholarship from the International Bar Association to attend its annual conference in Washington DC. He tells of his experience

Society Blog

No globalisation without representation...

29 Aug 17

Katie Hay discusses the globalisation of the legal market and urges Scottish solicitors working internationally, to get involved

“No globalisation without representation”, itself a corruption of a slogan used by American colonists who opposed taxation by a distant parliament to which they had not elected any members, was taken up in the late 20th century by the anti-globalisation movement.  Rather than oppose globalisation itself, activists were protesting against the lack of democracy in global governance and its impact on poorer and more vulnerable people and economies. 

One of the earliest proponents of globalisation, or at least global governance in trade, was our very own Adam Smith, who, in his seminal text A Wealth of Nations (1776), argues against barriers to free trade and competition, particularly those imposed by governments. It is reassuring then, that as economies have become more global and the consequent demand for global cross-border legal services has grown significantly, many governments are pursuing trade agendas designed to break down unnecessary or disproportionate barriers to cross-border trade, including in relation to the legal profession.

In the context of Brexit, there has been much in the press about international trade agreements, and while the UK Government will have primary responsibility for negotiating new deals on behalf of the constituent parts of the United Kingdom, the Scottish Government stated in its post-referendum paper, Scotland’s Place in Europe that it would need to take part in trade negotiations that impact on devolved competences, to have a voice in international forums and to secure agreements with other countries.

Justice is, of course, one such devolved competency and the Law Society of Scotland has long been working with the Scottish Government through its development arm Scottish Development International (SDI) to promote Scottish legal services and identify opportunities within other sectors. This is set to continue with the launch of Scottish Legal International, an initiative of the bigger commercial firms in Scotland in collaboration with SDI and the Society. More will be said about this in the coming weeks but the hope is that once it is established it will be available as a source of support to any firms with international aspirations. The core principle of the initiative is one that Adam Smith himself would hopefully endorse, namely that more can be achieved through putting aside individual competitive concerns at home for the greater good of the sector internationally.

This is just one strand of our international work.  As my colleague, Fraser Hudghton wrote in his recent blog about the Society’s new membership of In-house Counsel Worldwide (ICW), at the heart of our strategy is the ambition to drive forward our standing as a truly international, world-class professional body.

Membership of ICW provides another opportunity for us not just to promote the wealth of talent in our growing in-house sector but to work with global partners to promote and sustain the work of in-house counsel in Scotland, elsewhere in the UK, and across the world. This is on top of the opportunities we already enjoy to learn from and share best practice with the American and Canadian Bar Associations, the Council of Bars & Law Societies of Europe and the International Bar Association (among others).

The globalisation of the legal market coupled with our strategic commitment to becoming a world class organisation has given rise to the Society’s recent call for our first ever international Council member to represent the needs and views of those of our members with international careers.  The deadline for applications was end-August and I urge all of our members outside the UK, whether practising or non-practising, to vote for the candidate who you think will best fulfil this role and give your constituency a voice in our governing body.

Lack of space prevents me from detailing more of the international opportunities and challenges that arise for the Society and for the profession every day, but in concluding, I’d like to give a shout-out to colleagues in our Brussels Office, with whom I work closely. While we are doing a lot of work here examining the impact of leaving the EU (all of which is detailed on our website), they have the challenging task of representing UK interests in the heart of Brussels during the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

The office has been representing and promoting the profession in Brussels as well as contributing to the EU legislative process since 1990. However, since the referendum last year, they have redoubled their efforts to put forward our interests to EU stakeholders. If you visit their website ( you will be able to access the reports they have published, the viewpoint articles they have commissioned from lawyers, MEPs and academics and read about the events they have organised. The office will also have their usual stand at our annual conference, so if you have any questions, comments or concerns about Brexit, please stop by for a chat. 

Through the various strands of my international engagement, I want to create a network of organisations, resources and people who can advise our members, whether they are keen to expand their business internationally, are experiencing cross-border difficulties or are wondering what impact Brexit will have on their business. Through working with other law societies, linking up our international members or leveraging the resources of government and trade organisations, my aim is to ensure that if the profession is going to embrace globalisation, it is not without proper representation.

If you’d like to find out more about our international work, email

Katie Hay is head of International at the Law Society of Scotland

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Blog archive

9 Jan 18

Hold tight for 2018

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4 Dec 17

Trends and revelations

From the Journal employment survey: sexual harassment must be taken seriously

9 Nov 17

Mergers and markets

After the Maclays-Dentons merger, what now for the independent Scottish legal firm?

9 Oct 17

For the greater good

The profession should support those who attempt to improve the lot of the most vulnerable

11 Sep 17

Brexit and the legal order

Government recognition of the need to continue civil judicial cooperation with EU countries after Brexit is welcome, but how can it exclude the involvement of the CJEU?

7 Aug 17

Taking access to justice seriously

The House of Lords decision on employment tribunal fees elevates this constitutional principle

10 Jul 17

Advance of the courts

There is momentum behind civil procedure reform, and practitioners need to be alert to have their say

12 Jun 17

Defend our rights

Don't sacrifice rights to combat terrorism; welcome to Edinburgh for the UK Supreme Court

8 May 17

Review time

Patience will be needed as regards the outcome of the new review of legal services regulation, but there is much for the profession to concern itself with meantime

10 Apr 17

Complaints about the Commission

It is not surprising that solicitors are complaining about the SLCC budget and levy – but what should be done?