The new season's programme for young lawyers; and a report on this year's European Young Bar Association International Weekend in London

40 years young...

This has already been a special year for SYLA. The first half of 2014 saw the Association host the European Young Bar Association’s Spring Conference, drawing young lawyers from across to the globe to our capital city. We also celebrated our 40th anniversary in style with members past and present at our party in Glasgow in May. 

September saw us relaunch after the summer break and announce details of our new programme for the year ahead. This is set to be another eventful time for SYLA as we continue with our award-winning events programme, which aims to provide high quality and affordable education opportunities for young lawyers. The “So you want to be”, “Beyond the Basics” and “Spotlight on” series will all be back, together with the return of the criminal day conference, a new civil day conference, “Women in Law”, the annual lecture and the famous spring ball.

Of course, around the same time, Scotland faced its big question. Now the result is known, a significant period of constitutional change awaits, and young lawyers continue to be engaged in this. It is certainly an interesting time to be a young lawyer in Scotland. SYLA at 40 remains full of energy and passion for the future of the legal profession in Scotland, and we can’t wait to see what lies ahead. 

You can meet the new SYLA committee and check out the full events programme at our website, and on our Twitter feed @oSYLAo

International postcard

Following the success of the European Young Bar Association (EYBA) Spring Conference hosted in Edinburgh this year, I was delighted to attend the EYBA International Weekend, held in London, as a new member of the SYLA committee. This is an annual three-day conference with a full programme of seminars and social events. It provided an opportunity to meet with young lawyers from numerous jurisdictions, including Denmark, Czech Republic, Spain, Netherlands and the USA, many of whom had attended our conference in March. 

The conference kicked off on Thursday evening where delegates were given the opportunity to share their stories and experiences, in an informal manner. The formal programme began on Friday morning where we were welcomed to the Law Society of England & Wales by its President, Andrew Caplen, who highlighted that young lawyers should be poised to tackle new challenges created by globalisation. The day was jampacked with insightful discussions on topics ranging from the Magna Carta – which celebrates its 800th anniversary next year – to cross-cultural intelligence and a harrowing session on human rights at sea.

After morning seminars, we were given a private tour of the Inns of Court, where the history is fascinating and architecture breathtaking, before the social highlight of the weekend, the gala dinner at the Emirates stadium. 

Despite the dancing and partying, we all made it to the last day of the conference, which began with a welcome address from William Hubbard, President of the American Bar Association. He led a lively discussion on the likely developments that the legal profession will see over the coming decades, a main theme of the spring conference in Scotland. The formal programme concluded with a seminar on aviation law and a highly interactive commercial awareness Q&A session.

Delegates also participated in the 3rd Annual International Oratory Competition, an audio tour of the Houses of Parliament, and a London Adventure Scavenger Hunt on the final day. 

The conference identified some key cross-jurisdiction themes – issues such as globalisation, access to justice and the use of technology featured regularly in spirited debates. For me, it is even more apparent that the legal profession, as a whole, is evolving to adapt to modern times. I am sure my fellow delegates came away, like I did, with a sense of excitement about what lies ahead of us in our careers.

I would like thank all of the speakers, EYBA, Junior Lawyers Division, London Young Lawyers Group and Young Barristers’ Committee for hosting such an enriching and inspiring event. I look forward to the next one. 

The Author
Emma Boffey is President of the Scottish Young Lawyers’ Association and a solicitor with CMS Cameron McKenna Lucy Thornton is a committee member of SYLA and a trainee solicitor at Digby Brown
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