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President's column

18 July 16

The Society will be asking for members’ input as issues arise from the EU referendum outcome; meanwhile normal life goes on with a succession of significant events in the profession’s calendar

by Eilidh Wiseman

“A week is a long time in politics.” This oft-used phrase seems never to have been more apt.

After such a seismic shift in international relations, we are all in a reflective mood. As I listened to the Prime Minister make his statement to the House of Commons on 27 June, I was delighted to hear Scottish solicitor and former Council member, Alberto Costa MP refer to the need to take advice from the very best legal minds and referencing the Law Society of Scotland. As solicitors we have much to contribute to the discussions post the referendum, and the Society will be asking you to consider in the months ahead what contributions you feel you can make to ensure the profession’s voice is heard on proposed legislation and also on business issues as a number of key negotiations commence.

This last month has also seen the admission ceremony for 44 new Scottish solicitors and the introduction to the Court of Session of 14 solicitor advocates. It is a great joy and a privilege to share their special day: an occasion which marks their hard work, dedication and commitment to the rule of law and the service of others.

The final of the annual Donald Dewar Memorial Debating Tournament, which is organised by the Society, was held in the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament. What a thrill for those eight young debaters, representing schools from across Scotland. The standard of debating was exceptional and Nairn Academy proved to be the winners on the night. My thanks to all of our members who support this competition by volunteering as judges through its various stages. With your support, 128 teams from schools across the country are able to participate and continue the tradition of excellent debating skills in Scotland.

Many of us read the well-researched and challenging article in the April Journal by the SYLA, raising the topic of mental health concerns within our profession. It was encouraging, therefore, to chair the first meeting of our new initiative, Legal Wellbeing Scotland, which brings together representatives from across the profession and legal community to work with LawCare and the Society to raise awareness of mental health concerns and encourage best practice. If you would like to be involved in this project, please let me know.

Finally, I’d like to encourage you to put Friday 30 September in your diary and sign up to come along to our annual conference. This year’s theme is “Leading Legal Excellence: Solicitors Succeeding at the Heart of Society”. The conference programme will reflect these changing times and challenges, with an excellent lineup of speakers and streamed sessions providing perspectives on the path ahead. I do hope you will join me at the EICC for what promises to be a really inspiring day.

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

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