The SYLA committee has taken a proactive approach in a year of challenge

The Scottish Young Lawyers’ Association ushered in another calendar year with high spirits and lots on the agenda for 2016-17. More than ever, the big picture challenge for young lawyers was the unrelenting nature of change. 2016 saw the UK vote to leave the European Union and Donald Trump elected as President of the United States – the threats and opportunities of globalisation were heightened and the difficulty in retaining distinctive “brand” values of Scots law in this worldwide environment was put into sharp focus.

The SYLA maintains that it is for this generation of young lawyers to lead the way in such an uncertain environment and galvanise change within their organisations. No young lawyer can assume they will be practising law at the end of their career in the same way as they are now. Coping with rapid and unceasing change is a skill in itself and one for which SYLA has made every endeavour to prepare our members.

Our annual “Big Survey” highlighted for another year the issue of how young lawyers deal with stress. Given its relevance to those forging an identity in such a competitive profession, we put mental health on the agenda and partnered with LawCare and the Law Society of Scotland to create the Legal Wellbeing Scotland initiative. 2016-17 saw a number of round-table discussions take place and SYLA was keen to see so many stakeholders take part and share knowledge and best practice.

Excitingly, last year was a year in which we also made headway in developing events with other professionals. Clients expect joined-up solutions and, in that vein, want their professional teams to be able to work together. The past year saw SYLA team up with Glasgow Young Professionals group, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, the Young Actuaries Society and many others to run joint social and educational events.

With a number of great events already lined up for the calendar year ahead, and our committee researching topics such as the use of IT in the Scottish courts and best practice for firms to assist women in the profession returning to work after maternity leave, we are sure the coming year will be as successful as ever.

Very best wishes to all our members.

The Author
Laura Meldrum, President, Scottish Young Lawyers’ Association (2016-17 and 2017-18)  
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