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Regulation and legal aid are top priorities for Scottish solicitors

14 December 2012

Solicitors want the Law Society of Scotland to give priority to regulatory issues and legal aid.

That’s the finding of new research carried out among Scottish solicitors by independent polling organisation Ipsos MORI.

Solicitors also said that supporting trainee and newly qualified solicitors should remain a key focus for the Society. 

The survey, of a random sample of more than 500 Scottish solicitors, showed that: 

  • 70% believed that representing members on regulatory issues was a high priority;
  • almost two thirds (65%), said support for new lawyers was key;
  • 63% believed protecting the legal aid budget and representing legal aid solicitors was a high priority;
  • 63% thought improving the perception of the profession among the general public was of high importance.

Members’ perceptions of the Society were largely positive, with 79% agreeing it was an effective regulator, 74% agreeing it was effective at leading and supporting the profession, and 68% believing it was effective at representing the profession. There was also strong support, at 87%, for the Society to continue to represent, support and regulate.

Priority

Lorna Jack, chief executive of the Society, said: “As the professional body for Scottish solicitors, it is vital for the Society to understand those areas of work our members believe need to be a priority.

"Legal aid in particular has been brought into sharp focus in recent weeks as we have seen solicitors protest against Government proposals on legal aid contributions. What is interesting is that even those working outwith legal aid, including solicitors in big firms and in-house lawyers, see protecting the legal aid budget as a high priority. Whatever their area of work, solicitors recognise that protecting legal aid and maintaining access to justice needs to be at the top of the Society’s agenda. It will certainly continue to be a key focus for us over the coming year.”

The 2012 research is the third such survey of the profession that the Society has commissioned since 2009.

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