Aberdeenshire solicitor Graham Matthews has taken up the role of President of the Law Society of Scotland today, 26 May.
Alison Atack, a partner at Lindsays in Glasgow, is the new Vice President.
Mr Matthews, a partner at law firm Peterkins, Inverurie, has represented city of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire solicitors on the Society’s Council for more than 10 years and has served on a number of committees including the Client Protection (formerly Guarantee Fund), Professional Practice, Remuneration and Regulation Committees.
Ms Atack, a member for the Glasgow & Strathkelvin constituency, has also been a member of the Regulatory Committee and is convener of the Client Protection Sub-Committee.
Outgoing President Eilidh Wiseman, said: “I’m very pleased to congratulate both Graham and Alison on taking up their roles as President and Vice President today.
“It has been a tremendous privilege to represent Scottish solicitors during the past year and I know Graham and Alison will do a superb job while they are in office. Both have been longstanding members of the Council – with over 30 years between them – and will bring their combined knowledge, enthusiasm and commitment to their new roles as President and Vice President, particularly during a time of enormous change for the profession and public alike. They each have a deep understanding of key issues affecting the profession and the Society, not least the rapidly changing legal market and the need for more modern, flexible governance, the issues around access to justice and legal aid, and of course the outcomes of negotiations following the vote to leave the EU.”
Mr Matthews responded: “It is a huge honour to be President of the Law Society of Scotland and serve our membership, whether they are working on the high street, in-house, or in city firms across Scotland and further afield. The profession has changed enormously since I started out in practice, but solicitors’ willingness and ability to adapt to a changing environment remains constant.
"There will certainly be challenges ahead as we work through a number of important issues. We will play a full part in the current legal services review and continue to press for new legislation which will allow the legal sector to develop, help us to become more agile as a regulator and make sure there are robust protections for members of the public using solicitors’ services. Ensuring access to justice will also be a priority. I feel very strongly that everyone, regardless of background or financial situation, should be able to access the legal advice and support when and where they need it. For that to happen, legal aid solicitors need to be fairly remunerated for the important work that they do.
“Eilidh has done a tremendous job during her year in office, showing determination, grace and good humour in approaching even the most demanding of issues. I’d like to thank her for all of her work as Alison and I take up the reins.”
Ms Atack added: “I am looking forward to working alongside Graham as Vice President during the next 12 months and getting to know the wider profession and understanding some of the particular pressures they face. As the Society’s new office bearers we will continue the drive towards being a world class organisation, providing the support and services solicitors are looking for to ensure their businesses can thrive and that they can continue to meet the needs of their clients.”