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First awards under Signet Accreditation scheme

31 January 2008

The first lawyers in Scotland to be awarded The Signet Accreditation received their certificates at a ceremony in the Signet Library, Edinburgh, last night.

The Signet Accreditation, set up by the WS Society, allows lawyers who successfully complete a rigorous assessment process to be recognised for high standards in both legal knowledge and client-focused skills, such as communication and commerciality.

The first practice areas in which assessment is available were commercial property and commercial litigation. Successful candidates in the first category were Cassie Ingle and Robert (Jake) Loudon, both of Dundas & Wilson, Jennifer Laurie of Biggart Baillie, and Jill Turnbull of Anderson Strathern. The two successful commercial litigators were Laura Crilly of McGrigors and Alisdair Matheson of Brodies.

The awards were presented by Lord Cullen of Whitekirk, chairman of The Signet Accreditation’s board, and Lord Mackay of Clashfern, Keeper of the Signet. Congratulating the six who passed, Lord Cullen said:

"In recent years there has been increasing interest in the standards for the legal profession. The launch of The Signet Accreditation coincides with a wider recognition of the need for more focus on ongoing professional development and assessment of lawyers’ skills, particularly in practical application.

"The scheme provides for external assessment designed to replicate the pressures of modern legal practice. It is about promoting improvements in the delivery of service to clients. It gives solicitors the incentive to raise their performance, and consumers the ability to recognise those who have established their proficiency."

The next round of assessments will take place this autumn. Two new categories have been added: corporate business law, and practice for in-house lawyers.