This month's subject is Archie MacIver, convener of the Society's Licensing Law Committee

What made you pursue a career as a solicitor?

Timing is everything. I wanted to join the police but was too young at the time I obtained my highers. I decided to go to university and undertake a course which I thought might be relevant to my long term career goals and decided on law. I never escaped thereafter!

Why did you decide to join a committee?

As one of the more experienced licensing solicitors in the country I felt I had something to contribute. It also gave me the opportunity to have some input on prospective legislation and the like via the Society. There is no point complaining about legislation from the sidelines. It is better to contribute and try to prevent poor legislation being drafted rather than complain about it afterwards. I am not altogether confident we have succeeded in that ideal.

Have your perceptions of the Society changed since you joined the committee?

Yes. Until you become involved in committee work and the like, the Society can appear to be somewhat remote. Once you are involved you realise that there are many people beavering away behind the scenes, working extremely hard to try to improve the lot of the profession.

What have been the highlights for you personally?

In licensing, probably the highlight is the fact that the members of the committee come from both the private sector side and the public sector in the form of clerks. Although at times in our “day jobs” we might be seen to be on opposite sides of the fence, the fact of the matter is that we all work very closely together on the committee and are able to put our self-interests to one side in trying to find solutions to issues which arise.

What are the main issues that you think the committee has to address at the moment?

Licensing is very much flavour of the month politically. As a result, there have been vast swathes of legislation passing over our desks over the last few years. This is ongoing with no sign of a break. The biggest challenge and issue the committee has to deal with is to ensure that that legislation ultimately is “fit for purpose”. It can be a bit depressing however to see that on many occasions the views expressed by the committee, which includes some of the most experienced practitioners and clerks in the country, are given perhaps less regard by the politicians than we believe should be the case.

What has been the most surprising aspect of your work as a committee member?

I wouldn’t call it “surprising”, but it has confirmed my view that those involved in the world of licensing are a fairly close bunch. We all work together very well and are very mindful of the challenges which we all face in this field of practice and, as I said earlier, manage to leave our “self-interest” baggage at the door.

What are you most looking forward to as part of the Society’s new strategy?

My belief is that the new strategy represents a perhaps needed modernisation of the Society’s approach and it will be interesting to see how this is greeted, not just by the profession but also by the wider world outside.

What’s your top tip for new lawyers?

Don’t be afraid of hard work. Be prepared to put in the hours. This is not a 9 to 5 job. Most of all, preparation is everything. If you do the “spade work” properly, that is more than half the battle.

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

I would like to ensure that every weekend, or holiday days off, the sun would shine and the weather would remain dry. I am more than happy to share that with the rest of society and not restrict it to members only!

What keeps you busy outside of work?

I enjoy sport. Sadly, with the exception of golf and some gym work, this is restricted to spectating only now. I also enjoy reading and watching films. The family also keeps me on my toes. No matter how “grown up” they are, mum and dad always seem to be the first point of contact when assistance is required!


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