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Broadening horizons, creating opportunities

16 September 19

The Society is working on a number of fronts to promote the Scottish solicitor profession globally - and there are opportunities for those who wish to join in

by Katie Hay, Fraser Hudghton

As the UK Government focuses on negotiating new deals with trading partners across the globe, and the Scottish Government is set to make substantial investment in trade, the Law Society of Scotland is keen to show that the legal profession is ideally placed to support these activities.

The legal sector is a significant economic generator in its own right, with Scottish solicitors having expertise that is exportable around the world. The profession already contributes to Scotland’s international influence, with over 62% of firms surveyed in 2017 reporting non-UK clients on their books, and Society members doing business across the world from Iceland to India and China to the Cayman Islands.

That is why the Society is working with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Development International (SDI) as they embark on an ambitious new strategic plan to realise Scotland’s economic potential. It is our aim to work with them and with our members to identify where Scottish solicitors and law firms can add value and bring their expertise to bear in a way that plays to Scotland’s distinct identity and strengths.

In a commercial sphere, Scottish solicitors are qualified to advise on UK-wide law but with the added benefit of Scots law knowledge and training. Meanwhile, Scotland is a competitive destination for commercial dispute resolution, with many high-profile companies relying on the quality legal services on offer to settle disputes in an efficient and cost-effective way. 

In Scotland we are passionate about collaboration. To us, supporting other sectors is just good business. That is why multiple professional bodies, including the Society, are working with the Scottish Government to make it as simple as possible to navigate the different forms of dispute resolution. We will be publishing more information on this shortly.

Developing Scottish Legal International (SLI)

Our belief in what we have to offer at home and abroad, and a desire to grow these opportunities further, contributed to the creation of Scottish Legal International (SLI) in 2018.

The current political climate offers us a unique opportunity to develop SLI, and to position ourselves as an integral part of the national response to Brexit and the need to assert Scotland’s place in the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

To find out more information about SLI visit www.lawscot.org.uk, or contact head of International, Katie Hay.

Embracing technological developments

Central to the country’s success is the need to embrace technological developments and use them to our advantage, which is why we launched LawscotTech to stimulate legal technology innovation in Scotland. Having seen the great strides Scotland has made in Fintech, we wanted to ensure that we were on the front foot when it came to taking advantage of technology-based solutions for the legal sector. Last October we took four Scotland-based legal tech companies with us on a Government trade mission to Zurich and Vienna, and we are set to do the same this autumn in Madrid and Lisbon.

Supporting legal tech development is vital to our members and ensuring Scotland remains at the forefront of clients’ minds when they think of how to meet their global legal needs.

Connecting with members in England & Wales

For those based in London or there on business, our autumn reception takes place on 2 October.

Our regular city networking events provide the chance for solicitors and city-based professionals alike to meet and discuss how we navigate our way forward during this unique period of change for Scotland and the UK. 

Taking place in the heart of the Square Mile, the October event will focus on Scottish legal influence in the city and globally. 

For further information and to register, visit www.lawscot.org.uk or contact head of Legal Member Engagement, Fraser Hudghton.

Can you champion the profession?

With these initiatives and more – including our plans to lead a trade mission to Africa next spring – we have good reason to believe that the future for Scottish solicitors and law firms is bright.

However, we are only one part of the equation for success. The profession needs champions from within who can work with each other and with us to strengthen and promote the value of the “Scottish solicitor” brand, and the modern and robust sector that supports them. 

Big firm or boutique, if you have good ideas for broadening horizons and creating opportunities for Scottish solicitors, we want to hear from you.

Katie Hay, head of International (e: katiehay@lawscot.org.uk); Fraser Hudghton, head of Legal Member Engagement, England & Wales (e: fraserhudghton@lawscot.org.uk)

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