Our sister law society in Edinburgh is pulling out all the stops to put Scottish legal services on the international map.
The Society has teamed up with top firms and the investment arm of the Scottish government to announce an initiative called Scottish Legal International to sell the jurisdiction’s strengths to the international market.
Obviously the immediate context is Brexit: ‘In an increasingly competitive business environment it’s crucial for us to take a coordinated approach to selling our strengths to a global market,’ says Graham Matthews, president of the Law Society of Scotland.
But isn’t there already a coordinated UK-wide approach, promoting the brand name ‘Legal services are GREAT’? Certainly. Yet, ever since that initiative was announced – ironically by the proudly Caledonian Lord Keen of Elie – at the International Bar Association in Washington DC in 2016, there has been a suspicion of London-centrism.
Indeed on that occasion Gordon Jackson QC, dean of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland, reminded international delegates that the UK has more than one long-established jurisdiction and that ‘a few crumbs’ of the global market in commercial dispute resolution would be welcomed north of the border.
It seems that Scottish Legal International isn’t quite declaring independence. Rather, it will ‘ensure Scotland is well represented’ in the UK campaign, chair Paul Carlyle, partner at Scottish and London firm Shepherd and Wedderburn, said.