A joint initiative to promote Scotland’s legal services in the international market will be launched later today.

Scottish Legal International (SLI) has been set up by a group of leading commercial law firms, in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI) and the Law Society of Scotland, to help sell the country’s legal sector to overseas markets. 

SLI aims to highlight the significant international work already being carried out by Scottish solicitors and encourage expansion by marketing Scottish legal services as an essential component of successful international trade and investment. The initiative will help solicitors develop new business opportunities through SDI’s knowledge of international markets and business networks, including the expanding Globalscot community, a global support network for Scottish businesses looking to access new markets and trade overseas.

The Society has been working with SDI for a number of years on promoting Scotland’s legal sector internationally. Both organisations will support SLI, a solicitor-led initiative which aims to harness the knowledge and networks available through SDI alongside the Law Society’s connections with the global legal community, to support Scotland’s legal profession.

The official launch takes place in the Signet Library, Edinburgh, this evening. There will also be a follow-up event in London on 28 March.

Paul Carlyle, chair of SLI and a partner in Shepherd & Wedderburn, commented: "The time is right to launch SLI. Now more than ever, businesses in Scotland need to send a strong, positive message to the rest of the world. The legal profession is a key component of that message. The UK Government has realised this with its ‘Legal Services are GREAT’ campaign, and SLI gives us a collective mechanism to ensure Scotland is well represented in that initiative. More importantly SLI will, with our partners SDI and the Law Society of Scotland, pursue our own projects to support the growth and success of Scottish legal businesses in international markets."

Graham Matthews, President of the Law Society of Scotland, added: "The legal sector is highly successful, generating over £1.2bn for the Scottish economy and supporting more than 20,000 high quality jobs. Additionally, our legal system and Scottish solicitors are held in very high regard around the globe and in an increasingly competitive business environment it’s crucial for us to take a coordinated approach to selling our strengths to a global market.

"The launch of Scottish Legal International represents an opportunity to promote the wealth of experience and talent within our profession on the global stage and to support those firms with international aspirations. It will also contribute to the existing Scottish Government Global Scotland strategy of taking a collaborative approach to share knowledge, experience and networks to make the most of international opportunities."

Minister for Legal Affairs Annabelle Ewing said: "I am pleased to formally launch Scottish Legal International to seek opportunities for inward investment in our legal services and to raise the profile of Scots law and our justice system to an international audience.

"The work of Scottish Legal International, along with the other strands of work underway, will allow us to bring to bear the unique Scottish legal system and contribute to the global effort among international partners to tackle dynamic threats such as those in cyberspace that can impact on Scotland’s citizens, its businesses and its public services."