This month's Council profile features non-solicitor member Suzanne Dawson, whose commitment is to equality of access to the profession
What is your profession?
What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?
The thought of a walk along the beautiful River Tweed in Peebles gets me up and out, but I use that as thinking time while I consider how I will continue to do a good job for my varied client base.
How long have you been a member of Council, and why did you become involved?
I joined Council, along with other lay member colleagues, in 2011. I am driven by a deep commitment to equality of access, and got involved with Council to help build and support a strong legal profession which will in turn help ensure the public’s access to a quality justice system, irrespective of their background.
Did you have any prior knowledge of or involvement with the Society before?
I had previously worked on an engagement project with the Society and Co-operative Development Scotland. This was designed to encourage the legal profession to consider employee ownership as a business succession option when advising clients.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
I have really enjoyed committee work, as this is where I believe I have made my most useful contribution. Particular highlights for me include the work we are doing with the Equality and Diversity Committee, and more recently the Commonwealth Law Conference local organisation committee. This conference will be held in Glasgow in April 2015 and presents a really exciting opportunity for us to promote the Scottish legal profession globally.
What do you see as the main issues that Council has to address at present?
While not taking a political position, the constitutional debate and how the legal profession should respond, however the Scottish people vote, will undoubtedly be the main issue that Council must address over the coming months. Also key will be how we continue to improve the Scottish solicitor “brand” in response to increased competition.
If you could change only one thing for solicitors, what would it be?
To provide greater equality of access. This isn’t just about new young lawyers, but also about ensuring we keep and promote talent which might otherwise be lost, by encouraging flexible working practices and recognition for contribution rather than length of stay in the office.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Family – we have a teenage son (need I say more?), and with close family ties in the US it would be rude not to visit on a regular basis. I love walking (no matter what the weather) and Pilates. I really need the exercise as I also enjoy to cook and more recently to bake.