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President's column

14 December 15

The Society's engagement with – and provision of services for – members is taking another step up with the appointment of a new executive director. And its new office facilities promise much as well

by Christine McLintock

At your service

In our new strategy we have promised to serve you, our members, through a detailed understanding of the needs of all sectors, providing tools and services for everyday use. To help us achieve that aim the Society has recently appointed a new executive director of member services, Aileen Caskie.

I can’t wait to see the new membership engagement plan starting to take shape, and I’m particularly excited about the steps to be taken to improve engagement with our solicitors working in-house, ensuring their interests sit at the heart of the Society. I have met with many in-house lawyers this year and there is undoubtedly an appetite for more engagement and a willingness to be part of new initiatives. It is already clear that Aileen will bring bags of experience, enthusiasm and energy to this role. And to support Aileen and the In-house Lawyers’ committee we are also about to appoint a member of staff to focus on this part of our engagement plan. You can read more about Aileen on p 38.

We already have a three-year rolling plan in place to facilitate engagement with local faculties, designed and promoted with great energy and drive by the indomitable Laura Malcolm. Most recently I have visited St Andrews, Perth, Falkirk, Stornoway, Kirkwall and Sumburgh.

These meetings allow us to hear about the issues concerning solicitors serving local communities and
I would like to thank all those who came along for their participation and honest and frank engagement. We also have a great programme of meetings with members across England & Wales as well as with representatives of the big firms in Scotland.

A brave new world

In November I wrote to all firms highlighting the dangers of online fraud. It has never been clearer that a certified digital identity will be beneficial (and no doubt required in some instances) when conducting legal transactions online. Our Smartcard initiative should allow all of us to meet such requirements. In addition, our plans to develop a one-stop shop, digital property platform are well underway and we are currently trialing a new system. The new platform will allow solicitors to process conveyancing transactions quickly and securely online and should be available for members
to use by spring 2016.

A great place for great people to do great work

From 7 December the Society will be up and running from its new home at Atria One in Morrison Street, Edinburgh, next to the EICC. I truly believe this move will be transformational in terms of facilitating effective working across all of the specialist teams at the Society. For the first time everyone will be located on one floor instead of being spread across three, three-storey town houses. I will miss all that stair-climbing though. Maybe we should have installed a gym to keep up staff (and office bearer) fitness levels!

Standing for justice?

We are rapidly heading towards the Scottish Parliament election in May 2016. This gives the Society and its members an opportunity to engage with those standing for election, promoting justice issues. I believe this is an opportunity for all of us to stand and be counted. The Society is currently working on its “manifesto”, following which we will be in touch to let members know how they can be part of our justice campaign.

Season’s greetings to one and all

Finally, can I wish you all a well-deserved break over the festive season and a peaceful and prosperous 2016.

Christine McLintock is President of the Law Society of Scotland – president@lawscot.org.uk; Twitter: @Christinemclint 

 

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