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Society replies to SYLA concerns over "Student Extra"

9 November 2010

The Law Society of Scotland has responded to concerns expressed by the Scottish Young Lawyers' Association over the Society's new Student Extra Scheme, launched last week.

In an open letter to members, SYLA questioned the value of the scheme in the current economic climate, and its £50 cost for services SYLA believed could be obtained at low or no cost.

In response, Heather McPhee, the Society's development officer in the Education & Training Department, said:

"The Society is pleased to take this opportunity to address any concerns relating to the Student Extra Scheme. The Society always invites the SYLA to contribute to our work in relation to new lawyers and will continue to encourage their input.

"The Student Extra scheme has been set up this year to assist Diploma students with developing their skills and increasing their networking opportunities. The scheme is entirely voluntary and has been designed to provide value for money services for Diploma students, as a result of a demand expressed in the Society's national New Lawyers Survey.

"The Society is committed to providing a variety of initiatives across Scotland for new lawyers and this scheme has been developed to complement the various free or low costs initiatives and outreach work, delivered in difficult economic times. It must also be remembered that all of the Society's work is funded by its members' subscriptions, which were reduced in 2010 and 2009 to reflect the impact of the recession on the profession. If a Diploma student does subscribe to the scheme, and takes all the opportunities offered, it would amount to a value of around £500, as the Student Extra scheme includes bespoke high quality courses and workshops which cannot be obtained free of charge elsewhere.

"The Society will continue to promote the excellent free or low cost events run by the SYLA, TANQ and Young Mediators Group and will work to provide low cost high quality services for all new lawyers. The Society is also committed to evaluating the scheme throughout 2010-11 to ensure it is meeting the needs of Diploma students and represents good value for all those who have joined. If you have any questions in relation to the scheme please contact ."