Leslie Forsyth is a lay member of our Appeals and Reviews Committee, which is a Sub-Committee of the Regulatory Committee. Here, Leslie tells us about his experience as a committee member, what motivated him to join and what keeps him busy outside of work.
Tell us a bit about your career so far?I am an architect, planner and urban designer with experience in practice, consultancy, education and research in the UK and Germany. Prior to entering academia, I worked in private practice in Edinburgh and London and in the voluntary sector for the Community Technical Services Agency Ltd. in Liverpool. In 1997, after eight years in the Lehrstuhl für Städtebau und Landesplanung at RWTH Aachen, I returned to Edinburgh where I was Head of the School of Architecture at Edinburgh College of Art from 2000-11. I am a specialist in urban design with a keen interest in participation and working with communities and have published on these subjects internationally.
I have taught and examined on programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level in architecture and urban design, as well as supervising and examining research degrees, throughout the UK and in Ireland, Germany and Italy. In addition, I have considerable experience of quality assurance and enhancement led review processes in architecture, art and design.
For the Architects Registration Board, I was involved in various committees and the prescribed examinations from 2002 -17. I was a founder member and chair of the Architects’ Professional Examinations Authority Scotland Ltd.
What motivated you to get involved with the work of the Law Society? / What did you know about the Law Society before joining one of its regulatory committees?Having been involved with the Architects RefB, I am interested in how professions are regulated and how they function. In 2013 I became involved with the Public Practice Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Scotland as a Lay Member. Since 2016 I have been a member of the Investigations Committee in ICAS. In 2017 a mail was circulated by ICAS asking for lay members to join the Law Society of Scotland and this led to my involvement.
Has anything surprised you about the committee work or the Society more widely?The issue, which has surprised me most during my involvement with the Appeals and Review Sub-Committee has been the number of appeals related to EU citizens wishing to practise as solicitors in Scotland. It is surprising how often the directives governing mutual recognition appear to have been misunderstood.
As a non-lawyer I find most of the work of the Sub-Committee interesting because I am unfamiliar with the organisation, structure and methods of the legal profession.
I would recommend that non-lawyers should take part in the work of the Law Society because it is important that professions should respond to the changing social and ethical context within which they function. It is in this area that lay members can contribute. If an individual is curious, thoughtful and enjoys discussion and debate, then taking part in the consideration and determination of appeals can be a challenging and rewarding experience, although there are times it can be quite tedious.
What keeps you busy outside of workI am retired so have ample time for my interests, which include walking (especially when there is a good restaurant or pub en route), yoga and Argentine Tango, although all are severely curtailed due to the current pandemic.