This time last year, we were shivering through the coldest December in a century. This year, Christmas Day temperatures are expected to approach the highest on record (apparently, over 15C in Leith in 1896). Much can change in the course of a year.

Certainly, a number of important issues arose during 2011, some leading to significant developments, others yet to be concluded: among proposed governance changes, a lengthy debate on reform of the Society’s constitution and standing orders; reacting to the Cadder case, legal aid funding and the Carloway Review; responding to Scottish parliamentary elections, for instance, with our well-received manifesto; the controversy over the role of the Supreme Court; the issue of firms being removed from conveyancing panels; publication by the Society of a strategy for the decade ahead.

Unfortunately, there has been little change in the economic outlook, which remains as harsh as last Christmas’s weather. But some developments are already on the horizon: further pressure on legal aid funding and access to justice; the likely arrival of our first licensed legal services provider; and, potential changes to our court structures.

As ever, the Society will welcome a new team of office bearers in the summer – Austin Lafferty as President and Bruce Beveridge, our recently elected Vice President. I wish them, together with our current President Cameron Ritchie and everyone else involved with the Society and the profession, a happy Christmas and successful New Year.

Lorna Jack is Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland