Celebrate our new solicitors

As the profession faces testing times, bright sparks have an ever more important role

Reaching the status of being a newly-qualified solicitor has always been an important milestone, and achieved through years of hard work and commitment.

In today’s economic climate, achieving this milestone is arguably even more significant – new solicitors have had to contend with competition at every stage of the route to qualification, including entrance to the Diploma in Legal Practice, and securing a traineeship at a time when many organisations are scaling back their recruitment.

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As a result, this new generation of solicitors has had to be innovative and proactive in order to thrive in the legal profession. Expectations are higher, and new solicitors are not only rising to that challenge, they are finding new ways to add value to the legal profession. Technical knowledge is assumed, and to stand out from the competition, new solicitors are being asked to hit the ground running in a variety of other areas, including business development and marketing.

Solicitors are more conscious than ever of the importance of brand, profile and building networks, and are looking at opportunities to develop their skills in this area.

We are always delighted to learn of new solicitors blogging about their chosen area of law and using social media to build their personal profile and the profile of their organisation.The benefit to their own development is clear, but it can also add real value to firms in attracting business. The Law Society has long encouraged organisations to consider the future. “Growing your own assistant” helps with succession planning and, in addition, a new solicitor can also bring a fresh approach, new perspectives and a different focus to any established organisation.

The society has recognised that new solicitors are vital to the ongoing success of the legal profession and have an important role to play in the future of the profession in Scotland. We have a council member, Jackie McRae, who is a solicitor co-opted to represent the interests of newly-qualified solicitors on the society’s ruling body when it comes to policy and issues. We also have a number of opportunities and events for new lawyers to develop their know- ledge and skills and further boost their profile. Solicitors may wish to come along to our extensive programme of events and seminars, with topics ranging from networking with confidence to presentation skills.

We have also recently started a database of solicitors keen to visit schools to talk about their career. This is a great way to highlight your firm or organisation in a local area and to a new audience. New solicitors may also want to consider writing an article for the society’s Journal magazine, perhaps to start a debate on a particular area of law. A number of new solicitors have already expressed an interest in doing this.

With the recession imposing testing times on all professions, it is perhaps more important than ever to seize any opportunities that present themselves and, in many cases, this can come in the form of newly-qualified solicitors, who are bursting with ideas and enthusiasm.

• To find out more call Heather McKendrick on 0131-476 8105/8200 or e-mail [email protected] Jackie McRae, the solicitor representing the interests of the newly qualified, can be contacted at: click here for [email protected]

Cameron Ritchie: A warm welcome to a life within the law

Congratulations. After many years of studying and training, you are now fully qualified members of the solicitors’ profession in Scotland.

It is a great achievement and one which your friends and families will share with you – for their support and encouragement along the way will have made a huge difference.

You are entering the profession at an exciting and challenging time. Your ability to give clear advice will be valued, as will your legal knowledge, and both are equally important.

The Law Society of Scotland is here to support you throughout your career. We do this in a number of ways – from running tailored training courses to keep you up to date with your legal area of expertise or to improve your management skills. Our continuing professional development scheme has been changed in order to allow you to plan your development needs and learn in a flexible way which suits you.

We represent the profession to a great many stakeholders on a wide range of issues, from conveyancing to tax reform to public spending cuts – issues which impact on Scotland’s 10,500 solicitors practising here, and elsewhere in the UK and overseas.

We are here for you, so get in touch – we want to hear what’s on your mind, and what you think we can do for you. To find out what we’re already doing, sign up to our regular e-newsletter through our website at www.lawscot.org.uk and read our award-winning Journal, which you will receive each month. Welcome to the Law Society of Scotland and to life as a solicitor. I wish you all the best in your future career.

• Cameron Ritchie is President of the Law Society of Scotland

Enrolment certificates will be presented to the following

Kirsty Barnes, Stephen Barr, Irina Beaton, Julia Black, Katie Boyle, Claire Brady, Quentin Bregg, Sarah Bremner, Kelly Brown, Stewart Buchanan, Lindsey Burgess, Colin Campbell, Paul Cavers, Amy Cornelius, Lindsay Docherty, Paula Duffin, Lesley Fairfield, Jayne Ferguson, Marianne Gilhooly, Lisa Gillespie, Philippa Godwin, Nicola Gormal, Kathryn Gormley, John Harper, Nicola Hendry, Ricky Hope, Shelley Hunter, Jennifer Hunter, Saroash Inam, Ysella Jago, Lorraine Kerr, Jennifer Kilgallon, Pamela Lawson, Helen Light, Catherine Mackenzie, Keith MacKinnon, Rebeca Marshall, Elizabeth McCabe, Fiona McClelland, Heather McClure, Andrew McConnell, Graham McDonald, Pauline McFadden, Matthew McIlwaine, Gillian McIntyre, Laura McManus, Jennifer McWhirter, Fiona Millar, Victoria Mincher, Adelle Morris, Erin Paterson, Lynette Purves, Safeena Rashid, James Reekie, Fiona Rennet, Meryl Skene, Andrew Smith, Neha Sood, Richard Stewart, Mandy Stewart, Euan Strachan, Elizabeth Tainsh, Catriona Walker, Sharon Williams, Kiera Wilson.