To paraphrase our President, Ian Smart, no Christmas movie could currently be more appropriate to the work of the Society and solicitors’ profession than It’s a Wonderful Life. Not only does it feature a credit crunch and a house arguably in need of a home report, the entire plot revolves around a (failed) financial compliance inspection. All of which perhaps explains why he has treated the Society’s hardworking team to a showing of the heartwarming weepy at the Filmhouse cinema tonight, weather permitting.

In reflecting on 2009 and looking forward to the year ahead, I’ll borrow a device from one of my own Christmas favourities – and take a look at the Society past, present and future.

In my first year as chief executive, I have purposefully pursued a whirlwind of meetings and events to meet you, our members. And one common observation from solicitors I meet is that the Society might in the past have more readily stressed its regulatory role than celebrated the many fantastic representative and support services it offers. A number of changes have already been made to address this and members can expect more in 2010.

At present, the Society could best be described as in transition. Much has been done in 2009 to make us a more modern, businesslike, efficient and effective professional body, but a great deal of work remains.

So what of the future? Picture this – the Scottish solicitors’ profession remaining independent, but open, competitive, profitable and respected around the globe. Notwithstanding the opening up of competition to the Society as a legal professional body, it will secure its position as the leading professional body in the Scottish legal services market and the regulator of choice for the majority of entities in Scotland providing legal services. Equally, it will deliver excellence to its members – and command their respect in return.

This is no vision from the big screen; it is a real possibility of what lies within our grasp in the years ahead, if we want to support that change. You have our commitment to do what’s necessary to get us there.

Merry Christmas and a successful 2010 to one and all.

Lorna Jack is Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland