Roy Martin QC has retired as the dean of the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish bar) after three years.
Martin decided to stand down to focus on his administrative and land law practice, both in Scotland as a member of Murray Stable and in England, where he is a member of Landmark Chambers.
The silk, who was made up in Scotland in 1988, had been vice-chair for three years before being elected to dean in November 2004.
Bruce McKain, head of public affairs at the faculty, said Martin's successor will be chosen by the end of the month.
"The frontrunners currently include the treasurer Richard Keen QC and the vice-chair Valerie Stacey QC. Whoever wins has sizeable challenges ahead," said McKain.
McKain was alluding to the need for the new dean to stabilise the bar following the recent shake-up allowing English-style chambers.
The new leader will also have to contend with the England and Wales Legal Services Act's impact on Scottish law, which led to the Law Society of Scotland launching a consultation on the future of the Scottish legal profession.