One of the most satisfying aspects of my job is meeting so many members of such a diverse profession, each carrying out valuable work on behalf of a whole range of different clients.
Since taking up my post at the start of the year, I have met solicitors from all sizes of practice, the in-house sector, solicitor advocates, paralegals and the Scottish Law Agents Society. More visits to local faculties are scheduled for the weeks and months ahead. The purpose of such meetings is clear: the more I listen to the needs of solicitors, the more positively I can focus on ensuring the Society provides services to meet those needs.
But while meeting individual solicitors is certainly rewarding, their message on current trading conditions is a matter of real concern. Everyone is feeling the pain – partners, staff, trainees – with most describing the current downturn as the toughest economic environment they have ever experienced.
In the face of that, most are adopting pragmatic responses to their difficulties. It is vital that individuals and organisations are able to plan ahead in this way. We will do all we can to help them do so and, medium term, I am convinced of the inevitable upturn.
Despite all of our best efforts, I fear many in our profession are feeling battered and bruised by the speed and severity of the recession. I am determined that the Society will do all it can to support members, whilst appreciating that there are obvious limitations to the help we can offer. All of which put me in mind of an article I read the other day about a Napier University academic offering free seminars to business leaders on how to improve morale during the recession. We should take him up on that!
It is a useful reminder to us all that we must focus as much on the needs of staff as the structure of the business. The Society’s "Law in Scotland" conference in May will provide a perfect opportunity for members of the profession to gather together, share difficulties and solutions, raise their collective morale and concentrate on showcasing their undoubted talents. I look forward to seeing you there.Lorna Jack is Chief Executive of the Law Society of Scotland