What is your profession?
I am the retired headteacher of Kilmarnock Academy and the co-author of a number of mathematics textbooks. Currently I teach a few hours of mathematics in Hutchesons' Grammar School, just for fun, and I am involved in a research project at Strathclyde University.
What motivates you to get up on a Monday morning?
I have a Higher class on a Monday morning and I usually start thinking about how I will tackle the next bit of the course. I have been teaching too long to require much physical preparation: I can make up questions for the class as I go along, but I do like to think out how I will approach a topic because every class is different.
How long have you been a member of the committee and how did you become involved?
I have been a member of the Regulatory Committee for just over three years. I responded to an advert in the press, came along for an interview, met Austin Lafferty for the first time but persevered anyway, and was invited to join.
Did you have any prior knowledge of or involvement with the Society?
No, I had no knowledge of the Law Society of Scotland. I had been a member of the General Teaching Council for Scotland so I was familiar with the concept of professional regulation.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
Apart from meeting Austin Lafferty, as mentioned above, I think the highlights are to do with learning about the legal profession and getting to grips with the regulatory framework. That may sound a bit dry, but the attraction of being a lay member lies in the involvement in a completely new context, just as the value of lay members lies in their disparate viewpoints. Meeting the other committee members has been enjoyable too. I did appear briefly on TV last winter on behalf of the Society and that certainly boosted my street cred with pupils!
What big project/issue is the committee working on at the moment?
We have just completed a consultation exercise on the possibility of introducing entity regulation and principles and outcome focused regulation. So we will now be involved in the outcome of the consultation, moving forward particularly with entity regulation.
What do you see as the other main issues that the committee will have to address in the near future?
The main purpose of the committee is the ongoing oversight of all aspects of the regulatory regime at the Society. We have created a framework which allows us to do that but we now have to refine and improve this, with a particular emphasis on qualitative indicators.
Are you a member of any other committees?
No, but I am currently the convener of the committee so I attend board meetings as an observer.
If you could change only one thing for solicitors, what would it be?
I think entering the profession has become more difficult because of the costs associated with the Diploma. I think this is a barrier for some sections of society which could be addressed.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
I attend a literature class run by Professor Reilly of Glasgow University, which is fantastic, and I have been studying German at the Goethe Institute. I travel a lot, long touring holidays, and I am a demon knitter. I'm also looking forward to going to my next Eurovision Song Contest final, this year in Vienna.
In this issue
- Advocacy skills in domestic abuse and rape cases
- Life on the edge
- Signs of equality
- What price on safety failures?
- Off on a frolic? Reining in adjudicators
- Reading for pleasure
- Opinion: Christine O'Neill
- Book reviews
- President's column
- Embracing the change
- People on the move
- Thumbs up for LBTT forms
- In five years' time...
- DAS ist gut (for business)?
- Legal aid: time for a rethink
- Holiday pay: turning up the heat
- Law reform: a new era?
- Hearings and the foster parent
- Experts: where to draw the line
- The appliance of science?
- Planning/environment briefing: 2014 – a retrospective
- Slice of luck for house buyers
- Scottish Solicitors Discipline Tribunal
- No bar to working together
- Dilapidations: reinstating the law
- AWI guardianship court for Edinburgh
- Law reform roundup
- Lawyers as leaders
- How did that claim arise?
- Ask Ash
- Head and shoulders above
- New year, new rules