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Book reviews

15 October 12

Reviews of Local Government Licensing Law in Scotland (McGowan); The Business of Law: Strategies for Success (ed IBA)

by Janet Hood, Tom Johnston (review editor: David J Dickson)

Stephen McGowan

PUBLISHER: INSTITUTE OF LICENSING
ISBN: 9780955539237
PRICE: £30 (members)/£40 (non-members)

This is the book many practitioners in the “civic” field have been waiting for. It gives a focused, concise and often witty introduction to the myriad forms of licence required to enable controlled businesses in Scotland. It highlights “political” issues, drafting complexities and gaping legal lacunae. More importantly Stephen McGowan’s clear guidance will help all licensing practitioners find their way, whether we operate in-house or in private practice.

It covers the A-Z of non-alcohol-related licensing and cleverly brings in the links between civic and liquor licensing, while demonstrating that yet again modern drafting practices have left us with an unclear path. Stephen is not afraid to grasp the nettle and describe the law as it is while offering sound solutions which, if followed, will make the licensed world less unstable.

I could hardly put this book down. Stephen has a light style which makes a weighty textbook readable. You feel he is in the room answering your questions. So not bedtime reading then!

If you practise licensing law you need this book.

Janet Hood, consultant, Blackadders LLP

 

Consulting Editor: The International Bar Association

PUBLISHER: GLOBE BUSINESS PUBLISHING
ISBN: 9781905783618
PRICE: £120 

In the early 1980s there came a point when encouraging law firms to become computerised was pointless. If you hadn’t got the idea by then, you featured Ned Ludd as a significant influence. Similarly, if you haven’t yet realised by now that a legal practice has to be a business first and foremost, your chances of emerging from the recession in any acceptable shape or form are slim.

So what is the point of this book? It contains 13 chapters on a wide range of topics. Business models and strategies; getting big versus staying the same; global or single jurisdiction. Other areas covered are governance of legal firms, financing techniques and, oddly, women and the business of law. Is this latter topic still of relevance in a modern management book? I hope not.

Contributions are generally from the view point of commercial law practices, mostly London based, virtually all international and multinational. An eloquently written exception to that is penned by the chairman of Burness on the advantages of operating within a single jurisdiction.

Why read it? Having a gratis review copy, I got through it with a modicum of interest. It reminded me of a few things I could and should be doing. I suspect that will be the same for firms of all sizes and locations. Iconoclastic or groundbreaking it is not. Unlike many books which I receive to review, I will not be rushing to pass this on to colleagues as a must read. At a time when library budgets are under scrutiny, I fear this book on the business of law may struggle as a commercial proposition.

Tom Johnston, Young & Partners LLP

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