The credit crunch is an opportunity for legal practices to deal with the approaching "tidal wave" of change, according to law firm consultant Malcolm Mackay.

That was just one of the positive messages conveyed to high street practitioners at today's conference, organised by the Law Society of Scotland, on how to pull through the recession. Speakers did not attempt to play down the seriousness of the challenge, but Mackay - whose career history, he told us, consists of moving on whenever he began to feel comfortable in his position - believes that "smaller boats" such as high street firms may be the most manoevrable in this situation.

Of course, skill in steering and navigation will be needed, but the various guest speakers (Ian Collins of Lloyds TSB, Mike McCusker of Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Austin Lafferty, Peter Anderson of Simpson & Marwick and Malcolm Mackay) between them produced a package of practical suggestions all well targeted at their audience.

The Journal will attempt to distil the best of the presentations in the December issue. For the moment it is right to record the concluding comment from Vice President Ian Smart, whose idea the conference was and whose presentation set the scene on the day, that the present straitened times have led to a more collegiate profession as advice and initiatives have been shared and more clients cross-referred between practices.

With that spirit, there is indeed hope. Hang in there.