Business First September 2017 Business First September 2017 - Page 52

IN CONVERSATION WITH in conversation with President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland, Ian Huddleston an independent solicitor profession which is a recognition of the important and at times life changing advice and help which they provide. Local solicitors are integral to our economy not just as the providers of legal advice but also as businesses and employers. They are an invaluable community resource supporting the most vulnerable and those in need as well as playing their part in supporting schools, churches and local businesses. In 2016 the Society commissioned research which indicated that 78% of those questioned said that they would prefer to use a local solicitor for their legal matters. Even in an age when our lives are dominated by technology many still value being able to access their local solicitor and to be able to speak to them on issues which are of importance to them. 1. Why did you want to become President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland? I have always had a strong commitment to the solicitor profession and the role which it has in all aspects of the our society in so far as it touches the lives of individuals as it does commerce It just seemed natural that I become involved in the Law Society of Northern Ireland as the representative and regulatory body for solicitors in Northern Ireland. In November 2009 I was elected as a Council member of the Society and since then I have been Chair of a number of committees before agreeing to become Junior Vice President and subsequently President at the end of 2016. I have always had an interest in legal education and continue to be heavily involved in that area. 2. What does the President of the Law Society actually do? Being President of the Law Society of Northern Ireland is more than just a title or a symbolic role. As President you are first and foremost there to work alongside the Society’s Chief Executive in the important overarching work which the Society undertakes in representing the 2,500 plus solicitor members through engagement with key decision makers and organisations. This has proven to be of greater importance 50 www.businessfirstonline.co.uk this year as the Brexit debate has intensified and particularly given the prominent role Northern Ireland now has within the ongoing discussions. 3. How do you balance being President and a practising solicitor? There is no ‘perfect’ balance and I think you simply do the best you can. I’m not complaining as I find the role and the responsibilities very rewarding and I actually enjoy engaging with our members and stakeholders and other Law Societies on issues of importance to the legal profession and Northern Ireland more generally 4. What are the main issues facing the solicitor profession in Northern Ireland? The uncertainty of Brexit coupled with the ongoing political instability in Northern Ireland continues to cause concern not only for the solicitor profession but for Northern Ireland as a whole. As local businesses many Solicitor firms are considering the out­workings of Brexit not just in terms of the impact on their clients but also on the potential impact on their own practices. 5. Do you think the public value the solicitor profession in Northern Ireland? A recent survey showed that in Northern Ireland there is overwhelming trust placed in 6. Do you think the solicitor profession in Northern Ireland needs to change with the t )$ٔѡЁͽѽ́ɵ́ɔ)݅́ٔɕͥٔѼѡͽ)ѕ̸Q)ݥ٥х䁍ѥՔ́ݔ)ȁ܁݅́ɽ٥͕٥)٥)́Ʌѥͥͽѽȁ$ѽ݅ɔ)ѡЁ́ɔɔ͍ɹЁѥ)ѡӊéəѱ)չхݡЁ́Ѽ)ͽɽ٥ɽ͕ͥ٥$)ѡѡЁͽѽ́ݥѥՔѼ)ɕͥٔѼѡ́́ѡ)Չ(ܸԁ݅́݅ЁѼ)ͽѽ)é$eЁѡ)͗ݕ$́ѡЁɽ)ɵɽչ䁙ѡȁ$)ݽձٕЁݡѡ՝Ёݽձ)ɔ͕հ(ก]ӊéѡЁɕ)٥ѡЁԁٕٔ) Ё݅́ɔԁ)ݡЁ׊eɔхи(丁]Ё́ѡAɕͥЁѡ)1܁M䁑ݡé)$݅ͅɕ)չչѕ䁙ѡѥЁɕ͕Ё)݅́ձ