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President's column

17 October 16

From the Society’s conference to the ceremonies for the opening of the legal year, events this past month make us think about the future of the profession – and those hoping to make it their future

by Eilidh Wiseman

Living in the yellow box – those of us who were able to attend this year’s Leading Legal Excellence conference were treated to a day full of terrific speakers: at times inspiring, at others moving, encouraging and challenging.

From animal psychology to the on-stage zebra, we truly experienced the A-Z of current business and political issues, as well as development and professional management advice, all bound in the wrapper of the man and woman of business, serving our communities and respecting the privilege to be part of the legal profession at home and abroad.

The Lord Justice Clerk’s address was a particularly relevant challenge to the solicitor branch of the profession. With an appropriate nod to our past, which we do of course love to treasure, Lady Dorrian challenged us all to look to the future and the opportunities that technological innovation will provide. The digital court is almost upon us, and we also need to be looking to new models to transact and conduct our business to ensure we are not missing out on all that the “brave new world” offers. In a country noted for discoveries, inventions and entrepreneurial endeavour, we need at the very least to consider different ways of working. I know that may not be for all of us, but certainly we owe it to the future generation to be serious about this.

Markers for the future

Speaking of future generations, the Society’s Education, Training & Qualifications team have been out and about this past month, visiting students on the LLB and Diploma at universities across Scotland to tell them about the advice and support on offer during their legal education. Law students and recent graduates can now sign up as student associates of the Society to make sure they are the first to hear about important updates and exciting opportunities, like entering this year’s student competition or signing up to help judge our annual debating tournament.

We’ve also launched the Lawscot Foundation, our new charity which will help academically talented students from less advantaged backgrounds in Scotland through their legal education journey. Part of the Society’s work on fair access to the legal profession, the Lawscot Foundation will offer financial assistance, mentoring and other support during the LLB right through the Diploma. There are a number of ways you can support the Foundation to help the bright young legal stars of the future. Whatever you can contribute – whether it’s your time, expertise or financial support – will be greatly appreciated. Find out more at www.lawscotfoundation.org.uk.

These last few weeks have also seen the opening of the legal year in a number of different jurisdictions, including our own: a time for reflection and an opportunity for the legal community to seek spiritual help and guidance on the responsibilities which lie ahead. Steeped in centuries-old tradition, it is an occasion to remind ourselves of the importance of the rule of law and the independence both of the judiciary and the profession as a whole. All the more important to take some quiet time to re-focus, when our legal colleagues in a number of jurisdictions around the world are being imprisoned, and in some cases pay the ultimate penalty, for simply doing their job.

Until next month,
Eilidh

Eilidh Wiseman is President of the Law Society of Scotland – president@lawscot.org.uk; Twitter: @eilidh_wiseman

 

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