What is your own practice area?
I started as a criminal practitioner but have over the decades become a chambers solicitor, dealing in conveyancing, wills, executries, adults with incapacity work, and commercial conveyancing/business advice. I also manage our firm and am intensely interested in business administration and development for high street firms.
What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?
I do need the money, so that’s always a driver, but we are privileged to be in the most interesting exercise in exploring the human condition, client by client, and getting paid for it.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
Immerse yourself in professional practice. If you know the rules you will become a better and more successful lawyer in any area of practice. Learn to say no to clients.
How long have you been a member of Council and how did you become involved?
Seven years. When my TV and radio career dwindled due to changes at STV and the BBC, I had a space to fill. I had done some work for the Society on the media front, and Ian Stubbs was retiring from Council. I admire Ian hugely and was privileged to try to fill his shoes.
In what specific capacities have you served (office bearer, committee or other)?
I have led the Strategy Group, been involved in the Journal Committee and editorial board, chaired various selection panels, was a member of the Audit Committee and the Nominations Committee, then was elected Vice President for 2011-12, and President 2012-13. I have been re-elected to Council for another three years and am on the Commonwealth Lawyers Association Conference (Glasgow 2015) Committee and the Future of Conveyancing Working Party.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
Too many to list fully. Leading the legal aid protest at the Parliament, visiting local solicitor faculties and groups the length and breadth of Scotland, presenting the Scottish offering to the 2013 Commonwealth Lawyers Conference in Cape Town, meeting lawyers from all over the world at various events and conferences, and lots, lots more.
How do you keep in touch with members in your constituency?
I am pretty well known and not difficult to find! I am a member of the Royal Faculty of Procurators in Glasgow and the Glasgow Conveyancers Forum. Always willing to come to meetings and be consulted.
What do you see as the main issues that your local members want Council to address at present?
Glasgow has a large number of legal aid practitioners who rightly are concerned about the future of access to justice. And sep rep has rung the alarm bells for conveyancers.
What do you see as the other main issues that Council has to address at present?
The English-Scottish mergers/takeovers are a potential worry for the future. We need to re-engineer the system so we in Scotland can expand more easily across the border. Why can’t I open a branch in Derby or Southampton? And ABS: the Scottish Government has dropped the ball a bit over the last few years and we are struggling to get our alternative business opportunities up and running.
If you could change only one thing for your members, what would it be?
I would make training in business and entrepreneurship compulsory for all private practice solicitors.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I have a third dan black belt in karate, and I draw and paint professionally. I have a lovely wife with whom I share leisure time and I try to keep up with our two kids who are in St Andrews and London respectively.
In this issue
- The DCFR, anyone?
- Cloak and dagger in cyberspace?
- One person's entertainment
- Scouting for professionals?
- Reading for pleasure
- Opinion column: Alan McIntosh
- Book reviews
- President's column
- Working smarter, working harder
- Hang tough
- At home with home reports?
- E-missives: what now?
- Hedges: a financial plague
- Rights: a bold agenda
- Timetable twist
- Overprovision: what next?
- Sustainability is the key
- LLP rules unveiled
- Relocation: locking the stable door
- Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal
- Island futures
- An onerous obligation?
- What's in a name?
- How not to win business: a guide for professionals
- Merging: a safe partner?
- Ask Ash
- From the Brussels office
- Law reform roundup