Devolution would boost Scots' share of legal work

SCOTTISH law students believe devolution would generate more legal work for law firms north of the border.

The patriotic instincts of the part-time students attending Strathclyde University's LLB course are revealed in a survey conducted by the college.

Just under 60 per cent of the respondents said a Scottish parliament or assembly would benefit solicitors while only 11 per cent disagreed.

The students also called on the Law Society of Scotland to run a marketing campaign to highlight the benefits of Scottish legal services to those companies who rely on English-based firms.

Just under half said they felt legal services were too expensive and nearly two thirds felt that lawyers suffered from low esteem.

Professor Alan Paterson, head of law at the university, said the survey aimed to open up the debate “among profession and public alike as to the kind of service they want”.

He added: “Despite recent surveys showing high client satisfaction with their lawyers, the part-timers felt that the profession suffered from low public esteem due to the costs and delays of the legal process.

“More than 90 per cent want the legal profession to promote legal reforms before public dissatisfaction forces the issue and it is interesting to note that most students think the profession is over-dependent on conveyancing and criminal legal aid work.”

Sixty-six per cent want an independent complaints body.