The Law Society of Scotland has today published its new strategy for the decade ahead at its annual conference, ‘Law in Scotland – One Profession’.
The Society has stated its new strategic aim as ‘to lead and support a successful and respected Scottish legal profession’ in its ‘Towards 2020’ strategy document and has set out five principal objectives against which it will assess and measure its performance over the coming years.
These key objectives are:
- Excellent solicitor professionalism and reputation
- Our members are trusted advisers of choice
- Our members are economically active and sustainable
- The Society is the professional body and regulator of choice
- The Society is a high performing organisation.
The Society’s president, Cameron Ritchie, said: “The pace of change for the legal profession, like others, has been tremendous in recent years and of course there has been the additional challenge of the economic downturn.
“It’s vital for any successful organisation to take time to step back from the day to day operations and look at where we are headed. We must plan what our key priorities should be and how we can best anticipate future opportunities and challenges in order to properly support the profession, which in turn helps our members better serve their own clients, now and into the future.”
A review of the Society’s work was initiated by its Council and the final strategy, which was approved by Council members last month, has had input from groups of members, faculties and firms, as well as senior management and staff at the Society.
The Council has considered economic, social and political change which is likely to impact the legal sector and the opportunities these change could bring in addition to any challenges for members.
Ritchie said: “The outlook for the next few years remains challenging and we know that solicitors will continue to feel the effects of a tough economic climate. Social change will also impact on our members as consumers of legal services become increasingly well informed and will seek the best and most cost effective services available to them. This makes reputation and quality assurance for solicitors and their firms even more important. As a professional body, it will be our role to promote a deeper understanding of the solicitor brand to the public.
“The legal sector itself is changing and we are seeing a younger profession with the gender balance swinging towards females. There are also pressures on some specific areas of legal practice, such as the criminal bar, and a growing number of ‘employed status’ solicitors.”
The Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010 will also mean change, although the latest timetable from the Scottish Government has indicated that alternative business structures are unlikely to become a reality until at least summer 2012.
Ritchie added: “In addition to this we also have to be aware of the political context in which we work and the changes coming down the track which will affect the profession. Given the cross party support for the Scotland bill we can predict further devolution of powers to the Scottish Parliament and we know there is strong political will to see reforms proposed by Lord Gill introduced. We await the outcomes of the ongoing reviews by Lord Carloway and Lord McCluskey.
“Within such a period of change, we want everyone, whether they are a solicitor or member of the public, to be able to understand our organisation’s purpose and vision for the next five to 10 years.”
Note to editor
The strategy can be found on the Society’s website at: http://www.lawscot.org.uk/media/309475/towards%202020%20strategy.pdf