Christine McLintock takes up the reins as the Law Society of Scotland president
Christine McLintock will take up the reins as president of the Law Society of Scotland from today.
Ms McLintock was formerly the risk & knowledge management partner and a board member at McGrigors.
She then became general counsel for Pinsent Masons, following its merger with McGrigors, and headed up the risk, compliance and in-house legal services group for the firm until 2013.
She joined the Law Society’s Council in 2005 and also sits on the Society’s board, where she has played an important part in directing the strategy of the organisation.
She said: “I’m very proud to become president of the Law Society of Scotland and am looking forward to the year ahead.
“I very much want to thank outgoing president Alistair Morris, who has done a terrific job in a year that has seen a global spotlight shine on Scotland regarding its constitutional future – something that will continue to be a major part of the Society’s work following the publication of a new Scotland Bill yesterday.
“We will play a full role in examining the bill as it progresses to ensure that its proposals will work in practice.
“This week’s Queen Speech also confirmed that there will be an EU referendum. We will maintain a neutral position, as we did throughout the Scottish independence debate, however we will urge the political parties to consider how they would maintain any economic benefits and barrier-free access to critical markets after any exit from the EU.
“We will also call for an analysis of whether the major policy, legislative and administrative complexities from an EU exit would have a detrimental effect on relations between England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“I plan to build on the work Alistair has done during his term in office alongside new vice president Eilidh Wiseman in leading the Society and ensuring that it can meet the needs of our membership and those who rely on solicitors’ professionalism and expertise.
“There is much to be proud of within Scotland’s legal profession and I am keen to highlight the work that solicitors do day in day out for their clients and a whole range of organisations across the public and private sectors.
“I also want to promote Scotland’s legal education system which I truly believe is second to none and should be recognised as the jewel in the crown that it is.
“It’s important that we have a diverse legal profession and that we can continue to attract talented individuals who, if they have the ability and ambition to become a solicitor, should not have to encounter unnecessary barriers, particularly financial barriers.”
The Law Society is set to launch a new five-year strategy in the summer.
Ms McLintock said: “The Society published its ‘Towards 2020’ strategy in 2011 and while that’s only four years ago, there has been huge change affecting the solicitors’ profession, justice system and wider legal sector. To remain relevant, effective and a truly world class professional body we have reviewed and substantially revised the strategy we put in place to ensure it is fit for 2016 and beyond.
“We’re excited by its ambition and scope and I’m looking forward to discussing our plans with our solicitor members and other stakeholders.
“It is of course important that everything we do is underpinned by our core principles of the role of law in society, the rule of law, fairness, justice and access to justice.
“Access to justice will be particularly key following publication of our recommendations on improving the legal aid system. It is fundamental that people can access the legal advice and representation that they need regardless of their financial circumstances and we will work with the Scottish Government and others to develop a better legal aid system for Scotland.”
Eilidh Wiseman, council member and current convener of the Society’s education and training committee, becomes vice president today.
The Council also paid warm tributes to two of its longest-serving members who retired today.
Former Law Society president Bruce Beveridge and former In-House Lawyer Group chair Janet Hood retired from the Council after eight and 17 years respectively.
Ms McLintock said: “Both Bruce and Janet have made enormous contributions to the work of the Law Society.
“As president, Bruce provided leadership, determination and good humour and was a fantastic ambassador for the solicitor profession. As the new president, I hope to be able to continue to rely on his wisdom and good judgement.
“Ever since joining Council in 1998, Janet has been a champion for the ever growing numbers of in-house lawyers. Most recently, she has helped us to become a leader on equality and diversity issues and I am delighted she will build on that work by continuing to chair our Equality and Diversity Committee.
“Both leave Council today with our thanks and best wishes for the future. While we say goodbye to two of our longest-serving Council members, I am delighted to welcome our new and returning Council members following the recent elections. I look forward to working with them during an exciting time for the Law Society.”
The Faculty of Advocates offered a warm welcome to the new president.
James Wolffe QC, Dean of Faculty, said: “I congratulate Christine McLintock on her election as president of the Law Society, and look forward to working closely with her on matters of common interest to the legal profession as a whole.
“I would also like to pay tribute to Alistair Morris as he retires from that challenging role.
“His presidency was marked by the successful Commonwealth Law Conference. It was a remarkable coup to bring this international event to Scotland and, under his presidency, the event was a great success. I wish him well for the future.”