This special commemorative Journal records the progress of the profession over 70 years, and the prestige in which the Society is now held, evidenced by our conference to mark 20 years of devolution.

A very warm welcome to July’s column. I hope the Scottish summer is not already over by the time you read this. This is a special edition of your Journal which marks the Society’s 70th anniversary. 

I am sure you have already admired our special covers. The Society ran two competitions to design them. The schools competition was won by P5 pupil Helena Xu of Garnethill Primary School in Glasgow. I had the privilege of awarding Helena’s prize at her school’s end of year assembly at the Glasgow Film Theatre, where I was made very welcome by all the staff and pupils. The competition for our solicitors was won by Graham Mitchell of Clyde & Co, who clearly has a fantastic artistic talent. A massive thank you and well done to everyone who took part.

 It is of course a tremendous honour for me to be the President during the Society’s Platinum Anniversary. It is a great milestone for an organisation which has grown to a membership of more than 12,000. Your professional organisation continues to be respected and admired here and around the world. The experience the Society has gained in regulation and representation is vital as we strive to maintain an independent profession fit for the 21st century.

In this special year I would like to say thank you to the Society’s chief executive Lorna Jack, the senior leadership team and all the fantastic staff who work to the highest professional standards to ensure the Society continues to go from strength to strength. It is also fitting to make a very special mention of all our members who have contributed to the Society’s success. For the last 70 years we have welcomed an army of volunteers from across every sector of the profession and every part of the country who have given their time, expertise and experience to committees, working groups, projects and the innumerable other vital functions the Society performs. The level of commitment has been extraordinary and I am sure that will continue for the next 70 years and beyond. Of course, the Society will only do that if it continues to enjoy your support and the trust that your professional body is best placed to serve you.

Distinguished speakers

There is another special anniversary this year. Devolution is 20 years old, and the Society marked this occasion by holding a 20 Years of Devolution conference at Atria One on 24 June. The list of speakers was truly remarkable. The First Minister and David Lidington MP and other distinguished politicians, academics and commentators intimately involved in devolution provided different and enlightening views on the birth, growing pains and maturing of a process which will continue to impact on all of us as it helps shape the history of our country.

Our upstairs neighbours Brewin Dolphin very kindly offered us their terrific rooftop garden, with panoramic Edinburgh views, to host a drinks reception afterwards. However, whatever else devolution has achieved, it was unable to deliver a sunny June day, so we had to stay inside! I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the conference with such enthusiasm.

The biggest highlight for any President is welcoming new solicitors to the Society. I was lucky enough to do this at our June admission ceremony. The generosity of our colleagues at the WS Society meant we were able to hold the ceremony at the magnificent Signet Library, which is a fitting venue for such an extra special occasion. We are especially grateful to the Sheriff Principal of Glasgow & Strathkelvin, Craig Turnbull who despite his commitments was able to attend as our guest speaker. The 52 new solicitors who were admitted were entertained and inspired by his legal journey and his encouragement to be the best. It was such a reward for me to see at first hand the great pride they rightly felt in achieving what was clearly a long and dearly held ambition. I am sure you would want to join me in wishing them all hearty congratulations and best wishes for the future.

I do hope you get a chance to have a holiday and recharge your batteries. See you again next month.

The Author
John Mulholland is President of the Law Society of Scotland – Twitter: @JohnMMulholland
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