Ambitious new strategy will see Law Society of Scotland respond to legal market changes
The Law Society of Scotland has launched an ambitious new strategy today, Thursday 13 August, which will see it expand the range of services offered to its members and open its doors to other legal professionals as well as solicitors.
As part of its five-year strategy, ‘Leading Legal Excellence’, the Law Society focuses on delivering the highest possible standards within the legal profession. It also aims to offer membership beyond its current 11,000 solicitors to include other legal sector professionals, reflecting the wider changes being seen across the legal market.
The new strategy also highlights extending the Society’s global presence by striving to ensure that its members have internationally recognised qualifications which allow them to practise across traditional jurisdictional boundaries, whether elsewhere in the UK or overseas.
Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland said: “This is an ambitious new strategy for the Law Society.
“Our mission is to be a world-class professional body, which serves a growing membership, assures the public and influences the world around us.
“We want our members to be able to thrive whatever their area of practice, wherever they are in the world. That is why we will develop new products and services, helping our members to meet the ever changing needs of their clients and employers. It is why we will continue to set high standards and take action when those standards are not met.”
The new strategy has been devised in the wake of rapid change within the legal sector which has seen increased consolidation and been affected by reduced public spending, recent court reforms and further devolution. The profile of the legal profession is also changing; becoming younger and increasingly female in its make-up.
Ms McLintock said: “The pace of change within the legal sector has been even greater than we anticipated, such as the rise in the use of paralegals, legal executives and legal technicians and growth in outsourcing of legal work. In recent years we have also seen the emergence of new types of business models delivering legal services, even without the regulatory provisions being in place which would allow the creation of ‘alternative business structures’ and see solicitors able to set up in partnership with non-lawyer professionals for the first time.
“That is why we needed to change our approach to ensure that we meet the needs of both our membership and the public they serve.
“Our membership is currently restricted to solicitors but we want other legal professionals, people who make a significant contribution to the success of the legal sector, to be able to benefit too. That is why we will build on the experience of our Registered Paralegal Scheme and seek to open our membership to other legal professionals who cannot currently join the Law Society”
In addition to broadening its membership base, the Law Society of Scotland aims for its professional standards to be recognised as world class and its members to be respected for holding rigorous and globally valued professional qualifications and membership accreditation.
Ms McLintock said: “The majority of our current members work here in Scotland but increasing numbers are choosing to work elsewhere in the UK and overseas, while retaining their Law Society of Scotland membership.
“As the legal market responds to the challenges and opportunities of using new technologies and increased globalisation, we expect increasing numbers of our law graduates to work outwith Scotland. We want to offer the right kind of support to all of our members, wherever their careers take them in the world, and ensure that their Law Society of Scotland membership is valuable to them.”
“I am excited by the scope and ambition of the new strategy. I hope it sparks discussion among our membership and others about how we can lead legal excellence over the next five years and become a world-class organisation.”
ENDS 13 AUGUST 2015
PRESS AND MEDIA ENQUIRIES
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