This month's Law Society of Scotland Council member profile: Hamish Watt (Arbroath and Forfar)
What is your own practice area?
Litigation, criminal and civil, with an increasing interest in commercial work. I also advise on employment and business related law and am developing a specialisation in wildlife and firearms law.
What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?
I still get a buzz from working, seeing new clients and being appreciated by existing clients when the work is completed.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
Entry in to the profession is only the first base. Please get some training in business principles. An MBA in addition to a law degree would be useful. I get the impression that many new lawyers, particularly in the private sector, do not have any interest in or are motivated by the business of law.
How long have you been a member of Council and how did you become involved?
This is my second term. It was an obvious transition from being a member and the Dean of my local faculty, or society as we Angus call our organisation. I wanted to try to find out how the Law Society of Scotland really works. It has been an eye opener.
In what specific capacities have you served (office bearer, committee or other)?
I assist where I can, but running a small firm consumes 100% of my time.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
Meeting lots of interesting people both at Council meetings and the staff of the Society, whose efforts are probably unknown to the profession at large.
How do you keep in touch with members in your constituency?
I try to speak to individual members of our society as often as possible. I am still a Council member of the Angus Society so I keep in touch that way. From time to time I send out a news sheet. The local constituents all know they can easily contact me.
What do you see as the main issues that your local members want Council to address at present?
At the moment the main issue is the reorganisation of the sheriff courts in Scotland and the possible closure of Forfar Sheriff Court, along with a reduction in services offered at Arbroath Sheriff Court.
What do you see as the other main issues that Council has to address at present?
Hardly a Law Society Council meeting goes by without discussion on how to tackle communication with the profession. It is a major problem and there is still some way to go to close that gap.
If you could change only one thing for your members (not necessarily related to the Society), what would it be?
I often think that we solicitors do not operate on an even playing field. I would like to see estate agents, will writers, and letting agents property regulated. I would also disband the SLCC and start again.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I have a number of hobbies which include cycling and hillwalking. I am involved with a number of organisations including Rotary. So between these and family I am never bored away from work.