Tell us about your career so far…
Having failed in my somewhat fanciful ambition to pursue a career in music in the 1980s, I decided it might be an idea to be able to afford a mortgage, so became a chartered accountant instead – clearly the rock and roll spirit was well ingrained. I then remained in the profession for 20 years, eventually as a partner in a Glasgow firm, but decided to make the leap into another type of business when one of my clients – whose offices just happened to be a 12 minute walk from my house – invited me to apply for a role which appealed.
Why did you decide to join the Society?
When I saw the advert, I thought “That is me they are talking about!” and threw my hat in the ring.
Have your perceptions of the Society changed since you started?
My expectation was that the Society would be wedded to tradition, although I did fancy having a go at modernising processes. In reality the Society was already well down the modernisation path when I signed up. I now believe I am part of an ambitious, forward thinking organisation that fulfils a crucial role, not only in regulating and representing the profession, but also as an apolitical commentator in civic Scotland. Before joining I had very little idea of the breadth of activity the Society is involved in. I did expect my colleagues to be very capable in their fields, however, and I have not been disappointed.
What have been the highlights for you personally?
The highest profile and most financially significant project I have been involved with was the sale of Drumsheugh Gardens and the move to Atria One, which has transformed how the Society works and to some extent how it is perceived. Being part of the move team and concluding a process that had started off some eight years previously, was very rewarding. And on a daily basis it is a privilege to work with such highly capable colleagues (well that’s what it says in my briefing paper…)!
What are the main issues that you think the Society/your department has to address at the moment?
One recurring theme since I started here back in 2011, is the limiting impact of the 1980 Act. Together with a patchwork of statutes governing the profession, the current legislation is preventing us from becoming a more nimble, modern organisation, responsive to the evolving needs of consumers and practitioners alike. We are currently working to influence new legislation to address this issue. We are also at the final stages in preparing for approval of the licensed provider scheme.
What has been the most surprising aspect of your work at the Law Society?
The most surprising (and welcome) aspect is that my role has relatively little to do with accounting – it is about helping the senior leadership team deliver the strategy and run many other aspects of the organisation.
What are you most looking forward to as part of the Society’s Leading Legal Excellence strategy?
New membership categories – people with a range of interests and involvement in the law – will join the Society because they wish to be part of an internationally regarded organisation.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
Understand accounts – you know you want to!
If you could change only one thing for members, what would it be?
I would like to dispel the myth that the legal profession is full of fat cats: members I come into contact with are passionate advocates of the law and access to justice, and work selflessly on behalf of clients and their peers.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
Children, playing bass in a wedding band and putting myself through significant emotional stress each fortnight watching Kilmarnock FC.
In this issue
- Miller, Brexit and BreUK-up
- Power to the people?
- Prerogatives, Parliament and the constitution: plus ça change?
- Decisions in high places
- Reading for pleasure
- Journal magazine index 2016
- Opinion: Callum Sinclair
- Book reviews
- President's column
- Have you heard of ScotLIS?
- People on the move
- Article 50: the final say
- Where courts fear to tread
- "Wake up": how young lawyers see the future
- How healthy is our legal aid system?
- Challenging assumptions
- Planning to deliver
- Contact and the fear factor
- And the bill goes to...?
- Pakistan to join Child Abduction Convention
- Dress to impress?
- Handcuffing of prisoners and article 3
- Turning up the heat on workplace change
- Scottish Solicitors' Discipline Tribunal
- Not just for the green welly brigade
- Five by five
- Law reform roundup
- Relief over pensions and bankruptcy ruling
- Helpline plus
- Spill the beans on legal aid fraud
- The art of bringing the good news
- Cybercrime: how are you protected?
- Ask Ash
- One year rule becomes three
- From the Brussels office