The Law Society of Scotland has launched a new strategy to expand the range of services it offers to members and open its doors to other legal professionals as well as solicitors.

As part of its five-year Leading Legal Excellence plan, the Society will offer membership beyond its current 11,000 solicitors to include other legal sector professionals and reflect the wider changes being seen across the market.

The strategy will also extent the Society’s global presence by seeking to ensure that its members have internationally-recognised qualifications, which will allow them to practice across traditional jurisdictional boundaries, either in other parts of the UK or internationally.

Christine McLintock, President of the Law Society of Scotland said: “This is an ambitious new strategy for the Law Society. Our mission is to be a world-class professional body, which serves a growing membership, assures the public and influences the world around us.

“We want our members to be able to thrive whatever their area of practice, wherever they are in the world. That is why we will develop new products and services, helping our members to meet the ever changing needs of their clients and employers. It is why we will continue to set high standards and take action when those standards are not met.”

Rapid change within the legal sector has seen increased consolidation, and has been affected by reduced public spending, court reforms and further devolution. The profile of the progression is also changing, becoming younger and increasingly female in its make-up.

The Society says the pace of change within the legal sector has been greater than it anticipated, such as the rise in the use of paralegals, legal executives and legal technicians, and growth in outsourcing legal work.

Christine added: “In recent years we have also seen the emergence of new types of business models delivering legal services, even without the regulatory provisions being in place which would allow the creation of ‘alternative business structures’ and see solicitors able to set up in partnership with non-lawyer professionals for the first time.

“That is why we needed to change our approach to ensure that we meet the needs of both our membership and the public they serve.

“Our membership is currently restricted to solicitors but we want other legal professionals, people who make a significant contribution to the success of the legal sector, to be able to benefit too. That is why we will build on the experience of our Registered Paralegal Scheme and seek to open our membership to other legal professionals who cannot currently join the Law Society.”

The strategy is available to read in full on the Law Society of Scotland website: http://www.lawscot.org.uk/strategy

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