In a year like no other, a sense of community has never been more important. However, coronavirus presents a unique challenge to our community, one which requires a collaborative, cooperative and digital approach. We are fortunate to be part of a profession that strives to be collegiate, innovative and adaptive – one which, in times of crisis, endures. One response to the coronavirus crisis put community above all else, creating a digital platform for Scottish lawyers to come together to learn, stay connected and laugh.
Hey Legal launched in January 2020, with the aim to create smart learning and digital content for Scottish lawyers. Its vision was a digital library of content that lawyers would access at times that suited them – waiting at court, commuting, at the gym, on a walk or at home. The business model was similar to Netflix, a valuable monthly subscription allowing unlimited access to a growing content library. The Hey Legal mission states: “We aim to inspire new ideas and thinking in Scottish law firms. We want to reimagine learning for Scottish lawyers. Hey Legal is designed to change the status quo from doing only the minimal required CPD hours, to participating in engaged daily learning through choice.”
The thinking was that, by making learning easy and enjoyable, lawyers would learn much more and be able to help clients more. The focus was on three areas: black letter law, wellbeing, and business development, as for lawyers to prosper they need all these aspects to be working well.
Response to lockdown
As lockdown began, Hey Legal decided to remove its subscription element and make all of its content free during lockdown. The thinking was that lawyers who were suddenly at home would benefit from the content already created, and access for as many people as possible would be a good thing. The response was staggering, with hundreds of accounts being opened over the first few weeks from across the Scottish legal landscape, and a community now at around 3,000-plus across its various platforms. In unprecedented times the business model took a back seat; the engagement showed this to have been a warmly received initiative.
When lockdown came into force in Scotland, it presented many challenges for lawyers in terms of working methods and getting new clients. Recognising the difficulty, and even panic, experienced by the profession, Hey Legal sought to create resources that could assist. From advice on emergency SLAB payments, working remotely, wellbeing strategies, to updates about licensing and the courts, Hey Legal became a platform for those in the know to share their knowledge.
The Hey Legal Quiz
To provide some lighthearted entertainment during lockdown, Hey Legal began running the Hey Legal Quiz. The quiz is an interview of 20 questions with some of Scotland’s most notable legal figures, including Donald Findlay QC, Lady Rae, Lord Matthews, Dean of Faculty Roddy Dunlop QC, and Keith Stewart QC, the newly appointed Advocate General for Scotland. The quiz is unique as it asks them to consider not only their life in the law but their personal lives too. Edith Forrest, advocate who created and hosts the Hey Legal Quiz said: “Every time I speak to colleagues or go to court, somebody is asking who my next guest is. So, it has proved to be a highly successful project in lockdown and beyond.”
The quiz, on the Hey Legal YouTube channel, has been popular not only with the legal profession, but also with the public and the press. Why? It provides an honest and sometimes vulnerable insight into what is often a guarded and mysterious profession. It also provides learning but doesn’t at all feel like work.
Having been in operation for just a year, the small and agile team at Hey Legal are just getting started. A news section has been added and the team have also been running virtual conferences.
Ally Thomson, founder of Hey Legal, said: “2020 has been a year like no other, especially in terms of launching a business. We have kept our core content free thus far and established a place in the Scottish legal sector, and we will now look to build out our business model with some paid for events and memberships. We are indebted to all the contributors who have engaged with us. We are kicking off the new year with our ‘Shape Your Success in 2021 Summit’, with the Lord President, Lord Carloway providing the keynote introductory talk and some excellent expert speakers lined up. The aim is to help attendees get a plan for the year ahead.”
Ally Thomson is founder of Hey Legal
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