We would like to hear from you.
David Flint of MacRoberts has issued a further letter to all solicitors today in response to communications from the Law Society, in which he calls on solicitors to back his motion to cap the practicing certificate fee at £400.00 due to what he calls their "singular inability to operate within any reasonable budgetary constraints".
"They have an open cheque book from the Members and they operate accordingly. Now is the time to dictate to our Society the level at which we are prepared to fund them and force them to operate within that level," he says.
"It is clear from the Accounts that the Society is wholly able to make the necessary savings to allow the suggested reduction in Practising Certificate fees without reducing front line services provided by the Society's staff; the waste all appears to be at the top."
Flint's letter can be read in full below:
To the Members of the Law Society of Scotland
Law Society of Scotland - Annual General Meeting 2009
I am sure that many of you will have received at least one follow up e-mail from the Society, either the Treasurer or some member of Council, advising of the dire consequences which will befall the profession should you exercise your right to call the Society to account and vote against the wishes of Council.
Late yesterday, the Society agreed that they would send this message to you. If you have not already sent in a proxy in favour of the Motion to reduce the Practising Certificate costs can I please encourage you to do so. What has started in a small way has developed into a much larger issue and it is clear that the Council and the Executive of our Society is concerned that the status quo is being threatened.
Our present issue with the Society, which is gathering tremendous support throughout the profession, is that they have, to date, demonstrated a singular inability to operate within any reasonable budgetary constraints: they have an open cheque book from the Members and they operate accordingly. Now is the time to dictate to our Society the level at which we are prepared to fund them and force them tooperate within that level.
I would encourage you to go the Law Society's website and down load the accounts for last year. Things that you might wish to consider when you read the Society's communications: -
• Why has the cost of the Chief Executive's Office increased from £236,000 to £326,000?
Particularly as several senior posts were vacant for much of the time? .
• Why if the headcount of employees at the Society has decreased, is the overall employment cost unchanged?
• Why did the Society waste £98,000 on the Location project - is Drumsheugh Gardens not adequate?
• Why did the Society make a surplus of £1.229m in 2008 after £1.489 in 2007? Should members not benefit from this?
Why are the Society's affairs managed in such a way that it paid substantial amounts in tax - where is the member benefit in this?
• As the Treasurer states in his Review "Other expenses increased by £171,000 to £529,000".
Some of this is in the detail above, but few of us have the luxury of such an increase.
In conclusion, it is clear from the Accounts that the Society is wholly able to make the necessary savings to allow the suggested reduction in Practising Certificate fees without reducing front line services provided by the Society's staff; the waste all appears to be at the top. The Society's role is demarcated by statute: -
"the promotion of-
(a) the interests of the solicitors' profession in Scotland; and
(b) the interests of the public in relation to that profession."
Anything else (including the worrying comment by the Chief Executive in the April issue of the Journal to "Civic Scotland"), is not something that the Society requires to do, nor should you be expected to pay for it.
Support for the motion has been received from solicitors in all branches of the profession, private and public sector, large and small firms, in Scotland and elsewhere. Something appears fundamentally wrong; if you agree please send off your Proxy TODAY to arrive by 2pm on Tuesday 26th May 2009.
Your support may make all the difference.