This month's Law Society of Scotland Council member profile: David Newton

What is your own practice area?

High Street practice, where I principally deal with civil litigation matters and commercial conveyancing.

How long have you been a member of Council and how did you become involved?

I initially became involved in the Society following my period of office as Dean of my local faculty in Dunbartonshire. I initially became a member of the Legal Aid Committee in 1999 and subsequently became a member of a client relations committee. I joined Council in 2005, which was a natural follow-on as being a committee member.

In what specific capacities have you served?

I have been a member of the Guarantee Fund Committee since I joined Council, and convened one of their interviewing panels. I was also convener of a client relations committee. I am currently the convener of the Law Reform Committee, and have been a member of the Civil Quality Assurance Committee since its inception. I am also a member of the Finance Committee and a board member.

What have been the highlights for you personally?

Highlights and the Society are two words that don’t readily go together, as much of my involvement has been on the regulatory side of things. I have certainly enjoyed the active debate in Council on a number of issues, and assisting in shaping the strategy and corporate plan for the Society through the board.

How do you keep in touch with members in your constituency?

We have regular quarterly meetings in our faculty where I give a report, and the minutes are available on the faculty website. I also on occasions send emails to the faculty members. Further I am available at the end of the phone.

What do you see as the main issues that your local members want Council to address at present?

As all the firms in my faculty are High Street firms, the main issue is getting properly paid for the legal aid work that is undertaken. Without exception all firms of the faculty undertake some elements of legal aid work.

What have the changes in the way the Society works meant for you?

To be honest the Society works now very similarly as to when I became a Council member, through its committee system. There has been a change in governance which I think is good, due to the fact that the Society is far more open and communicative about what it is doing and how it reaches its decisions.

If you could change only one thing for your members, what would it be?

To bring back a vibrant economy, and as far as the Society is concerned to be properly paid for legal aid work.

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