The incoming President of the Law Society of Scotland says he will bring his perspective as a chamber solicitor to the role, in contrast to the many litigators who’ve preceded him.
Murray Etherington will formally take over the role of President from Ken Dalling at a meeting of the Society’s governing Council today – Sheila Webster will then become Vice President.
Mr Etherington said: “I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to become President of the Law Society, and excited for the year ahead. My aim is to provide continuity, and to meet and speak with as many members as I can.
“Unlike almost every President who’s preceded me, I’ve never set foot in a courtroom in my life! There have been lots of litigators in the role, but I would like to fly the flag for chamber practice.
“Of course one of those litigators is Ken, who’s done an outstanding job as President. He has brought his passion, knowledge and dedication to the presidency, and I know he’ll continue to play an important role with the Law Society into the future.
“I’d also like to make special mention of Past President Amanda Millar, who is standing down from Council after more than a decade. The positive impact of Amanda’s work on equality and diversity in particular will continue to be felt for many years to come."
A Dundee-based partner with Thorntons Law, Mr Etherington has identified the ongoing fight to save legal aid and the Law Society’s critical role regulating the solicitor profession as two priorities during his presidency.
“You can’t become President of the Society without understanding the impact of legal aid and the lack of support for legal aid over many years. I know that Ken will continue to be a strong public voice as well, given how knowledgeable and passionate he is on this important topic.
“The Law Society does an excellent job regulating solicitors so the public can have confidence and our profession continues to prosper. I’ll be repeating that message loudly and often as the Scottish Government continues to consider the future of legal regulation.”
The incoming leadership team will also oversee the implementation in the coming months of a new five-year strategy that will underpin the Law Society’s work ensuring the legal profession continues to thrive and adapt, considering issues such as sustainability, wellbeing, technology and legal aid.
Outgoing President Ken Dalling has also spoken about the changeover in office bearers: “I know I’m leaving the profession in good hands, and that Murray and Sheila will do an excellent job as our sector continues to navigate some significant challenges.
“It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to be President of the Law Society. I’d like to thank my many colleagues across the Scottish legal profession and all the Law Society staff who’ve helped and supported me during the year.
“I’ve been especially proud of the Society’s work to bring focus to the longstanding crisis in legal aid funding and, more generally, to ensure the wider legal sector has been able to weather and bounce back from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”