A year of change, and more to come
New types of legal business
In December 2021 the Scottish Government approved the Law Society of Scotland as a regulator of licensed legal services under the Legal Services (Scotland) Act 2010. This opens the door to solicitors and non-solicitors setting up legal and other businesses as ‘alternate business structures’. The Law Society of Scotland have said that they will launch the regulation scheme in 2022-23.
We are now responsible for looking into complaints about how the Law Society of Scotland carries out its functions as an approved regulator. And once new regulated businesses are set up, we will handle complaints about the legal services they provide. This has meant we have needed to prepare for the first complaints, whenever they may come in.
New ways of working
In March 2020, like much of the world, we had to make a dramatic shift from a mostly office-based way of working to a wholly home based one. As restrictions eased, we consulted with our staff on ways of working. For most of them, a hybrid approach means they could get the benefits of working from home, while not losing the benefits of office working.
We used a framework of ‘Your Job, Your Way’ to explore the right balance, running staff workshops to refine our plans and identify staff and business needs to support them.
This has had impacts elsewhere, including how our IT is planned and maintained. It has also changed how we use our office space, and we’ve been experimenting with different styles of working area.
These new ways of working mean that we could speed up some changes we were already making with technology. This included making use of newer technologies and increased digital working. In parallel with this, we continued to focus on cybersecurity.
There is still more change to come. There will be further reform of the regulation of the Scottish legal sector through new legislation.
We are now in the third year of our four-year strategy and in 2023, we will start developing our next strategy. Our current chair, Jim Martin, steps down on 31 December this year, at the end of his five-year term.
We will also be researching property options as we consider what a suitable office space would be for our changed requirements.