Douglas Mill: Top of the Pops



Douglas Mill

I’ve been doing some very simple market research as I go about doing Faculty visits. An A4 page asking contributors to list the three things in practice which concern them most. I get a very high rate of return, so thank you good burghers of Banff, Stranraer, Paisley, Stirling et al.

I’ve sifted a good few dozen responses and whilst there are some real left-field suggestions, they do boil down to the following list, which pop-pickers I will present as a top ten rundown.

And, yes, these are high street firms, so dismiss them, all 4,500 of them as dinosaurs/losers/luddites and all the other praise I have over the years heard heaped on them by big firms-some of which still exist.

10- Holding steady, our old friend the Scottish government with their winning “We hate youse rich lawyers” refrain and the ever popular “Wur legislation is mingin by the way, pal”.

9- Come on down the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Don’t you love them.

8- Land Registration. The Keeper does it again! Back after burying the ARTL fiasco with-plan based registration. And if you want a real laugh, call a Dundee solicitor and ask about selfies.

7-The Master Policy. Straight in at number seven, the formerly staid, reliable and boring MP is now causing angst…”Whaddya mean they ditched Marsh…nobody told me”.

6- Money Laundering. Well, it’s the fight against terrorism/ drugs/ tax evasion. You choose. It doesn’t matter. The admin is disproportionate and silly and hoods still build property empires.

5- SLCC. Isn’t it a joy to get a spurious complaint so you can test your systems. Angst, 4 hrs to deal with it and 37 pages of enclosures. And yes, that is a real case this week. And are we the only people in Court of Session history to be funding both sides of 19 actions?

4- Work/ Life balance issues. An old refrain but getting louder. Big on the High Street, but even bigger with the large firms where being the sweatshops of the 21st century is a badge of honour. Presenteeism, commitment to the firm.. and one day this won’t actually be yours young man…because we sold it.

3-Summer in the City. And spring/winter and autumn too. Why have we an almost totally city-centric generation coming through when there are fantastic opportunities out there for a rewarding professional career? Doctors suffering too.

2-Over regulation. Few respondents say otherwise. “Why are we funding all this?”, they chorus. “Do I actually have to be a solicitor?” is a growing refrain.

So. wait for it…cue silly music.. this week, indeed year’s NUMBER ONE is..

1-Succession/succession/succession. All over the country. Too many firms. Not enough young lawyers coming through in the High Street. No, it wasn’t ever thus. And it needs to change or other firms will follow the recent sad case of the Crieff firm.

So. There you are. That’s what concerns the grassroots. And no, I didn’t mention Legal Aid, because that’s a given.

See under 10 above.

And continuing the theme-a bottle of plonk to the first person to e-mail me confirming who pretended to play the mandolin on TOTP with Rod Stewart singing Maggie May. Ah..those were the days.