Sheila Webster assumes presidency of the Law Society

The approaching leader of the Law Society of Scotland has promised to battle for the freedom of the legitimate calling from government, portraying this as a crucial time for the calling and law and order in Scotland.

At today’s meeting of the Law Society’s governing Council, commercial litigation attorney Sheila Webster succeeds Murray Etherington as president, and NHS Scotland attorney Susan Murray becomes vice-president.

Ms. Webster, a partner and head of Davidson Chalmers Stewart’s dispute resolution department, has served on the Society’s board and Council since 2020. She becomes the 54th and sixth female president of the Society.

She said: ” It is a privilege to assume the presidency of the Law Society of Scotland during a crucial period for the legal profession.

“We have new regulation before the Scottish Parliament that genuinely sabotages the autonomy of the legitimate calling from the state. It would grant ministers unprecedented new authority to control and intervene in the work of solicitors. This sort of political impedance essentially can’t be squarely in a free and fair society that complies with law and order, and I’ll be contending energetically as president to get these pieces of the bill eliminated.

We must also use this legislation to achieve the regulatory reforms and enhancements that we have advocated for years. The bill presents an opportunity to bring about real, positive change for the legal profession and those who rely on our services. Ensuring high standards across the profession of solicitors and robust consumer protections is an important part of the work that the Society does, and the bill offers an opportunity to do so.

Additionally, “we think aspects of the Victims, Witnesses, and Justice Reform Bill proposals are seriously flawed and the desire to see change must not be at the expense of a fair, just, and open criminal justice system,” although “we support aims to deliver a more person-centred approach to practices within the Scottish criminal justice system.”

Ms Webster added: ” Even though the two bills will take up most of the year, I’m going to work on other important issues that will have an impact on the profession’s future, like equality and diversity, recruitment, and succession, especially in the legal aid sector.

“I’m truly glad to be the 6th female leader of the General public, however we know there’s an issue with ladies not arriving at senior levels in similar numbers as they enter the calling. I want to learn more about why that is the case and how the Society can assist. Additionally, I hope to inspire some of our future leaders to participate in the Society’s work by interacting with our new members at an early stage of their careers.

“I’m looking forward to interacting with as many solicitors as possible, including small firms, large firms, and in-house counsel, to learn their perspectives on the most important issues we face and the public we serve, including the two bills that the Scottish government recently introduced.

“I am taking over as president at a time of change and would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Murray for his outstanding efforts throughout an eventful year. I anticipate his proceeding with help as past president and to working with our new VP Susan Murray.”

Ms. Murray, the new vice-president of the Society, works as an internal solicitor at NHS Scotland. She joined the General public’s Chamber in 2017 and turned into a board part in 2019. She is likewise the ongoing convener of the General public’s fairness and variety Board of trustees.

She stated, I am extremely excited to work with Sheila and support her during her presidency, and I feel extremely privileged to assume the vice presidency.

“The Law Society is at a crossroads right now, and there are significant obstacles ahead. This incorporates guaranteeing the new bill on legitimate administrations guideline can bring positive change and modernize guideline with the goal that public confidence in the lawful calling stays high, while permitting Scotland’s lawful area to flourish.

“Working with more of our members, including in-house colleagues, and ensuring that we can support them in doing what they do best—serving their clients and organizations with their legal knowledge and skills—will be a key part of the role for me.”

“I recognize there is still a lot to do, and I am committed to working closely with Sheila in influencing and driving positive change in this important area.” “There is so much good work being carried out by the Society around equality and diversity, inclusion, wellbeing, and support for those entering the profession.”

Source – Scottishlegal