Sarah Sutton, Digital Communications Executive at the Law Society, talks about her bright idea to ensure international representation on the Society’s Council.
It’s always satisfying to see a good idea come to fruition, but I have to say that I am particularly excited about the current campaign to recruit a Law Society Council member representing Scottish solicitors working outside of Scotland, England and Wales.
Almost two years ago (to the day!), I dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s on my Council representation for global membership paper and sent it off to the custodian of our Bright Ideas inbox. In the spirit of openness and progression, the senior leadership team at the Law Society encourages colleagues to make suggestions on how we might improve our ways of working, support our members and serve the public.
The ink had hardly dried on our new Leading Legal Excellence strategy, I had just finished working on the communications for the 2015 Council elections and it suddenly became clear to me that there was a gap between our aspirations to become a world-class professional body and our representation on Council.
Back in 2015, we had 232 Scottish solicitors working outside of Great Britain, today our ‘international members’ number some 450! And while the particular interests of solicitors working on high streets and in big firms across Scotland are well represented; our in-house members have dedicated Council representation, as do those working in England and Wales; Scottish solicitors working outside of Great Britain - do not!
My paper made its way from the Bright Ideas forum to our senior leadership team, to the Board and then to Council, gathering positive feedback and agreement at every stage. Finally, and because the addition of Council members requires a constitutional amendment, my proposal gained final approval from our members at this year’s AGM.
As an organisation striving to achieve global recognition for our standards, services and thought leadership, we have made changes to ensure that global concerns and issues are incorporated in our decision-making process. And here we are, in the first phase of the campaign to recruit and elect our first ever ‘international’ Council member. I am genuinely delighted.
So if you are a Scottish solicitor, working in Munich, Brisbane or New York, this is your opportunity to make sure that your professional body, the Law Society of Scotland, supports and represents your views and those of your international colleagues.