In-house lawyers news archive

The Law Society of Scotland AGM 2015 Report by Lynda Towers

On Thursday 28th May 2015, the Society held its AGM. Lynda Towers, ILG Committee Chair provided a report on the ILG activirties in the last year

The In-house Lawyers’ Group (ILG) exists to represent, support and promote the interests of in-house Scottish solicitors. This sector of the legal profession now makes up around one-quarter of the entire profession.

The Committee is made up of members who have either been elected by our membership or have been co-opted. This year we took the decision to advertise for new members to be co-opted to the Committee to broaden the experience and background of the committee and we are pleased at the number and high calibre of the applicants. 

In 2014, we affirmed our commitments to supporting  new in-house lawyers and celebrating the successes of our members by running  our Rising Star Award for the second time, highlighting the achievements and contribution of in-house lawyers with up to 5 years PQE. The winner was Vlad Valiente a solicitor with Midlothian Council. Along with the other judges, I was a faced with a difficult choice choosing between the excellent nominees.

Also in 2014 we joined with the Society in delivering the Law in Scotland Conference: The People's Verdict: So What Now?  It was an exceptional year and the aftermath of the Independence Referendum presented an ideal opportunity for the whole profession to get together. I and the rest of the ILG committee members present enjoyed meeting in-house lawyers from across a wide variety of areas, as well as meeting our colleagues who work in private practice.

Our newsletter continues to go out 3 times a year.  In 2014 and to date we have covered a wide variety of subjects, both practice specific like the consequences of the case of Alistair Brett v the SRA, reporting on events like the Law in Scotland conference and profiling our Committee members to highlight the wide variety of in-house lawyers in practice today.

Our regular article in the Journal profiling in-house solicitors is attracting a lot of attention – perhaps even one of the most often read parts of the Journal!

We also continue to use social media to reach our members, by running our own Linkedin sub-group and twitter page. It is pleasing to see the numbers following and engaging with us on social media growing every month.

We continue to build on our free seminar programme. We now offer seminars in Edinburgh, by video conference to other locations, and to view live on an individual’s computer. In doing this we are ensuring we make high quality CPD accessible and available to all our members.

We are continuing to support the development of sector specific members groups, most recently the establishment of an ILG Financial Services group.

Externally we are building on existing relationships with other organisations in Scotland and beyond. I have attended events hosted by our Irish, English and Scottish local authority and in house representative bodies. We maintain links with the Commerce and Industry Group in England and Wales. We also attended a Four Jurisdictions Meeting arranged by our colleagues at the Law Society of Ireland to discuss matters of common interest. This was an initiative we had instigated in 2013.

We continue to maintain our links with SYLA and TANQ, and are currently developing a joint seminar with SYLA.

Looking to the future, the Group is presently independent of the Society with its own constitution, but our work is supported financially and practically by the Society. We are in governance terms moving closer to the Society. We have already aligned our budget and business planning to the Society’s processes the ILG.  Having surveyed  ILG members, and taking on board their response, the Committee recently decided to  move towards asking the members at the AGM to formally wind up the Group’s constitution This would be  followed by a  transfer of our work and responsibilities to a fully supported Society in-house solicitor committee. Practical discussions are ongoing but we would hope to achieve a seamless transfer and to be in a position with the continued help of the Society to support our members in the years to come.

In conclusion the Committee is very busy. We are guided by the Society’s priorities, consult our members on what they want, and also take cognisance of the Society’s annual survey of members. We are building on the things our members told us they valued.  We want to continue this important work into the future.