Profile: John Laughland
John Laughland became an honorary member in 2002, after 40 years in private practice and 20 with the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal, 10 as chairman
What motivated you to study law?
When I was quite young in the preparatory department of Ayr Academy, one of the teachers, even at that stage, thought I would make a good lawyer! My father had been a chartered accountant and my brother had followed in his footsteps. I thought a change was necessary and subsequently decided to enter the legal profession.
What do you consider to be the highlights of your career?
My career was full of highlights, especially when during the years of practice one had many successful transactions and satisfied clients. The first highlight was, when being demobbed from National Service, I was invited to become a partner in a firm in Ayr. Another was my appointment and installation as an honorary sheriff. Also being appointed to, and ultimately being chairman of, the SSDT I deemed an honour.
What do you see as the most significant changes or milestones affecting the Scottish legal profession since you started?
The introduction of so many regulations with which a practising solicitor must comply, leading to the appointment of managing partners to ensure compliance. Also legal firms are no longer just “lawyers”. Firms are now incorporated institutions dealing with many aspects of commercial business. On the property front, the advance of the estate agency business has meant the near extinction of this work in the legal profession, but I acknowledge there are still some notable exceptions.
What does honorary membership of the Law Society of Scotland mean to you?
Being appointed an honorary member is indeed a very great privilege. I was glad to have been able to serve the Society and the profession in one respect as a member of the SSDT. Honorary membership has meant that I have been able to retain a career with the legal profession and watch its developments the years since I retired. It has also allowed me to continue my membership of the Law Society of Scotland.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
Accept advice given by senior members. Ensure compliance with all the rules and regulations. Treat clients with the respect they deserve.
If you could ensure one change for the future of the Scottish legal profession, what would it be?
A reform of the legal aid system to ensure economic payments for the work undertaken within a reasonable time.
What keeps you most busy these days?
Gardening; golfing; walking; being involved in club activities, e.g. Rotary, Glasgow Ayrshire Society, Cambusdoon Sports Club; getting out and about to meet and keep up with friends.