Scottish lawyers bullish about sector’s future

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CONFIDENCE among Scottish solicitors about the future of the profession north of the Border is rising, according to a Law Society of Scotland survey.

In its annual survey of members, 61 per cent said that they were optimistic about the future of the profession, compared with just 53 per cent in 2013.

Alistair Morris welcomed the support of its members. Picture: Contributed

Alistair Morris welcomed the support of its members. Picture: Contributed

The findings were announced just days after another survey of the legal sector in Scotland, by BDO, showed rising profits per equity partner, increasing fee incomes and higher staff numbers.

Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: “It’s reassuring to see that solicitors are more positive about their future as they look to build their businesses following the prolonged downturn.”

The Law Society of Scotland commissioned Ipsos Mori to poll more than 500 Scottish solicitors.

Setting professional standards and regulating law firms, including intervening to protect the public when necessary, were identified as solicitors’ highest priorities for their professional body.

Some 82 per cent of respondents said they believed the society was an effective regulator, with 88 per cent agreeing that it should continue to regulate and represent the legal profession in Scotland.

Morris said: “It’s clear that our members believe one of our most important roles is as a regulator who sets high professional standards and also to step in when things do go wrong at a firm, for whatever reason, in order to protect clients.”

Last week’s BDO survey found that 86 per cent of respondents thought it was likely or highly likely that there would be increased consolidation of mid-tier Scottish firms, with 79 per cent believing mergers would be with UK national firms. Over two thirds said they had been in merger talks but the number one barrier to merging cited was the lack of a firm with a suitable culture. But there was a note of caution as 43 per cent believe it is likely or highly likely that there will be more insolvencies of Scottish firms.

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