This time last year, rumours of a serious virus were circulating around the world. After a year of fluctuating rules and restrictions, which have seemingly reflected the optimism of individuals in society, we are back to where we began in (yet another) lockdown. The impact that lockdown has had on individuals is severe, and in addition it has highlighted the hidden pandemic of the deteriorating mental health position in society.
Being somewhat trapped indoors has taken its toll on all of us, especially on those who have had to uproot their working environment and learn how to work from home. While some mental challenges of office life are lessened, many aspects which people struggled with are enhanced by the lack of support and camaraderie included in office life. This blog will detail some useful tips and resources which our members can utilise.
by Patricia Taylor, Anna Hills and Euan Forbes
5 January 2021 – the day that marked the end of the festivities for another year, the day on which most law firms returned to work, and simultaneously, following the Scottish Government's announcement, the day that we re-entered Lockdown. Before March of 2020, some may have struggled to decipher what 'WFH' stood for, when, almost a year later, working from home remains the reality for most.
We do appreciate that the experiences of our members are unique, and that one case of WFH will differ from the next. We have prepared a list of general tips for making the most of your time WFH, but would welcome any feedback that our readers might have. Thank you to those who submitted some WFH tips via our Instagram poll – we have also included your examples throughout this blog.
By George McLaughlin
International Day of Persons with Disabilities took place on 3 December and it’s goal is to promote the rights and well-being of people with disabilities. In light of this, I thought it might be helpful to give some ‘top tips’, based on my experiences so far, having been fully qualified for just over a year, as a blind solicitor. As will become apparent, most of these tips may be equally applicable to any young solicitor getting used to the workplace setting . However, I will explain how I think these can be best applied specifically with reference to disability. I hope this is of some assistance to those with disabilities aspiring to a career in law.
By Patricia Taylor
The results of our most recent member's survey highlighted a demand for an event focussed on practising in house. In response to this feedback, on 15 December 2020, the SYLA was delighted to present 'So you want to be… an in house lawyer?'. The event was chaired by our non-executive Committee Member, Patricia Taylor, who was joined by a panel of expert speakers:
By Patricia Taylor
On 5 November 2020, the Scottish Young Lawyers' Association was delighted to deliver its contribution to the 19th annual Pro Bono Week: a webinar entitled 'Pro Bono Opportunities for Young Lawyers in Scotland'.
Our panellists joined SYLA President and Chair of the event, Ayla Iridag, for what was an insightful evening of discussion and reflection; and what turned out to be the most inspiring after-work-webinar that most of us would attend this year (at least!).
by Jamila Archibald
I’m Jamila – I am a newly qualified solicitor at Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP. I am proud to be of both Scottish and Caribbean heritage. Like many others, I have personally felt affected by the death in the United States earlier this year of George Floyd which has sparked a discussion about what it means to be anti-racist; the conversation has progressed from condemning racism to encouraging society to practise being actively anti-racist, and the ways in which we can all be aware of, and address, our own biases. It is extremely important that as a profession we address and face racism head on and support each other. I explore the various ways in which to become an anti-racist ally below.
by Matthew McGovern, SYLA non-executive committee member
There is no doubt that there are significant problems with the criminal legal aid sector. My local court is Hamilton, which is one of the busiest sheriff courts in Scotland, and yet there are only two full-time criminal lawyers under the age of 30. There is one full-time criminal trainee in Lanarkshire.
By Antonia Welsh
I am one of this year’s devils at the Faculty of Advocates and will qualify on the 29 May 2020. I wanted to share with you some of the things I have learned and encourage some of you to consider a career at the Bar.
by Amina Amin
Hello there, I’m Amina – a trainee solicitor at Jones Whyte Law and a Non-Executive Committee Member of SYLA.
First of all, Ramadan Kareem to all the Muslim Members. I hope your fasts are going well during this tough time. It will definitely be a Ramadan to remember!
As many of you are, I am also working from home. Whilst this has many challenges in itself, I am facing another challenge, which is working from home during Ramadan. Ramadan is the holy ninth month of the Muslim year, whereby Muslims do not eat or drink between the rising and setting of the sun. Yes, you heard it, no food or drink for at least 18 hours!