Profile: Katie McKenna
Katie McKenna is the Society's head of High Street Member Engagement
Tell us about your career so far…
I followed my traineeship at McClure Naismith with some volunteering as an in-court adviser for Airdrie Law Centre and then a brief but enjoyable stint in-house. My next move was to a role with Harper Macleod as sector development lawyer in their referral network HM Connect, and then Digby Brown’s personal injury referral network.
Have your perceptions of the Society changed since you started?
Honestly, no. Prior to becoming a full time member of the Society team, I sat on the Practising Certificate Committee and volunteered with the Trainee & Newly Qualified society, so I had strong links, in particular with the Society's work in education, training and fair access to the profession. So I had a positive perception of the Society as a friendly and progressive organisation working hard on behalf of its members – a view which has been compounded since joining the team.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
It’s always great to get out and about. Faculty visits give us the opportunity to visit members and get real face-to-face insight into the issues faced by solicitors working in different kinds of practices across the country. I want our members to know that I am happy to hear from them if they have questions or feedback.
What do you see as the main issues for solicitors at the moment?
High street firms, particularly in rural areas are experiencing real challenges in attracting and retaining talent. Together with my colleagues we have been promoting the benefits of in-house and high street career opportunities to law students across the country. We are keen to find solutions to the problem and for students and newly qualified solicitors to understand their options.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your work at the Society?
I was surprised by what an open, collaborative and forward looking organisation it is. People are friendly, welcoming and invariably keen to help.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
It’s really important for new lawyers to get out there and build up a network of contacts and colleagues. Grab opportunities to build your confidence and create a bank of experiences which will set you aside from the crowd.
If you could change only one thing for members, what would it be?
I am aware of the challenges smaller firms face when it comes to keeping up with changing demands and new regulations. Often they simply don’t have the resource to dedicate to something like GDPR for example, so we are always looking for new ways to provide support and I’m keen to hear from our members on what they would find most valuable.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I enjoy yoga and go to bootcamp a couple of times a week, and I am also learning Spanish at the University of Strathclyde.