Tell us about your career so far?
I started my career with a firm called J & F Anderson, which has since become Anderson Strathern. I continued working in litigation for many years, before eventually joining the Law Society of Scotland in 2003. November 2020 marks 30 years since I was admitted to the roll of Scottish solicitors and I count myself very lucky to have lovely colleagues to join me in a small virtual celebration. They are an amazing bunch of talented people who have worked particularly hard in recent months, and where appropriate, they have brought humour to some difficult situations.
What are the most significant changes you have seen?
A lot has changed in 30 years, but I have to comment on the huge impact of the digital revolution. It is amazing to think that the smartphones we carry around in our pockets are powerful computers – when just 30 years ago, my desk only had paper files and a telephone. I for one am grateful for the technology at our fingertips during the last year – where would we have been without video calls, both at home and at work? But with emails on our phones and increased homeworking, I am aware that many solicitors are subject to increased pressure to be available virtually 24/7. We need to look after ourselves and each other and preserve a work-life balance. The Society proactively supports wellbeing, and members can find some useful resources on our website.
What are you most proud of in your career?
There is just no getting away from the fact that this last year has been incredibly challenging for the legal profession. The pandemic has affected businesses, finances, families, physical and mental health, but through it all though the profession has rallied. The numbers of calls and emails we received more than doubled in any given month, and demonstrated solicitors’ commitment to continue to serve their clients. Criminal solicitors continued to attend courts to ensure the smooth running of the justice system, civil agents adapted quickly to online hearings and conveyancers pulled out all the stops to meet their clients’ needs safely. I recently heard of a relieved client getting keys for their new home from their solicitor at 11.30 at night! That is real dedication. As a profession we have displayed great resilience and integrity and that makes me really proud.
What’s your top tip for new lawyers?
The Scottish legal profession is respected globally, so you have under your belt a qualification which can open doors and take you down a huge variety of career paths. Scottish solicitors work in-house in the private and public sector, for big firms, in the high street and as sole practitioners. The skills are really transferable, so don’t be afraid to explore different areas of work.
How do you plan to spend the Christmas holidays?
I am one of the many who succumbed to the lure of a lockdown puppy – and more importantly, persuaded my husband to succumb. So the Christmas holidays will be a great time to fine tune/start Otis’s training (Otis is my puppy, not my husband), and of course I am looking forward to getting my daughters home and spending time with the family. I hope that all my colleagues have a well earned and peaceful break and a very happy new year.
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