Debbie Wilson is a sole practitioner at Wilson Defence and has been Council member for Aberdeen, Banff, Peterhead and Stonehaven since May 2017
What made you pursue a career as a solicitor?
I actually started off doing an arts degree and there were a couple of legal subjects included in that, which I really enjoyed, so I decided to follow my interests and transfer courses. There was also the fact that the Law course only included one nine o’clock lecture! Absolutely no regrets though.
Why did you decide to stand for Council?
Along with some of my colleagues, and particularly as a sole practitioner myself, I felt that the high street solicitor was underrepresented. Rather than be silent and discontented, I decided to get involved and find out what influence I could have. I also wanted to find out whether the perception we high street solicitors had of the Society was flawed, and if so how to go about correcting such perception.
Have your perceptions of the Society changed since you joined Council?
Like many of my colleagues, I was unaware fully of the Society’s broad three-headed remit – disciplinary, regulatory and advisory. The variety of work it does, and the depth of consideration I am finding remarkable.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
I am still fairly new into the Council role, so at this point the key highlight for me has been the opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the country, renewing old links and forming new ones. I am now beginning to get a handle on how the processes work and how things get done.
What are the main issues that you think Council has to address at the moment?
For me one of the key issues is the brick wall we hit around legal aid and the lack of acknowledgment about just how much the high street lawyer subsidises legal aid by doing a significant amount of necessary work we don’t get paid for.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
Practise listening consciously. It allows us to hear what’s really being said rather than being distracted by our own thoughts and preconceptions. It applies with clients, colleagues, other organisations, other firms, businesses and disciplines. It is also wise to do the same with family and friends. Conscious listening leads to understanding.
If you could change only one thing for your members, what would it be?
To make communication simpler, easier and less time-consuming.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I play the fiddle in a local Strathspey & Reel Society and am active in our local Rotary Club. I am also heavily involved with the Banff Town & County Club, a private members' club which is one of the oldest in the country. Meantime I still endeavour to learn golf.