Ian Forsyth works in the External Relations team and is the Law Society of Scotland’s public communications executive
Tell us about your career so far
I graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in Scots law and the majority of my working life has been spent in communications and customer service-focused roles. I now work in the Society’s Public Communications team, taking up to 500 calls a month from people looking for help to find the right solicitor for their needs.
Why did you decide to join the Society?
The opportunity presented itself when looking for a new role after completing three years working for a local authority. Combining my interest in the law and skills dealing with the public, this post was the ideal fit!
Have your perceptions of the Society changed since you started?
Not at all. I was very impressed by the organisational structure of the Society on arriving here and my opinion remains the same. Having been a law student, I was well aware of the Society as a regulator, but I have been amazed by the sheer variety of great work the Society does, in particular around education and law reform.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
Selfishly speaking, the highlight for me was being nominated by my colleagues and winning the Society’s values award. As I’m sure our members are well aware, it can be challenging dealing with members of the public who are going through difficult times. In the event that someone is looking for direction from the Society, they have likely contacted several advice agencies and it is necessary to listen and advise accordingly in order to assure them.
What are the main issues that you think the Society/your department has to address at the moment?
I have seen a rise in the number of calls from the public who have an issue with their “legal firm”. But sadly the firm in question is not a firm of solicitors and they are working in unreserved areas of law. Most callers don’t understand that “lawyer” doesn’t necessarily mean a regulated solicitor.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your work at the Society?
I would say the sheer volume of calls from members of the public wishing to pursue medical negligence cases. I think this can be partly attributed to the number of “no win no fee” adverts.
What are you most looking forward to over the next 12 months?
We have just launched an exciting new consumer-focused advertising campaign to promote the work of Scottish solicitors and raise the profile of our Find a solicitor search tool. I would ask (or perhaps plead) for our members to log in to our website and update their details so that our Find a Solicitor searches produce accurate results!
If you could change only one thing for members and/or the public, what would it be?
It would be absolutely brilliant if we could get to a place where our member details and “areas of law” listings are up-to-date. This means that my team are directing the correct prospective clients to the appropriate firms and will make our new advertising campaign a success!
What keeps you busy outside of work?
My 18 month old daughter is keeping me busy at the moment with her obsessive interest in buses!