There are three distinct legal systems in the United Kingdom: Scotland, Northern Ireland and England & Wales – each subject to the appellate jurisdiction (save for criminal cases in Scotland) of the United Kingdom Supreme Court.
Over the course of the next year, as I resume my UK Tour, I shall be looking at, among many other issues, the many and various ways law is practiced in the UK from sole practitioners to traditional High Street firms through to the new models arising from the Legal Services Act like Riverview Law and Lawyers On Demand and on to the rarefied echelons of ‘City’ practice with the ‘Magic Circle’ and BIGLAW law firms of the City and other commercial centres.
The Law Society of Scotland quoted Lord Wallace in a recent tweet: “We have a very modern legal profession with expertise across a broad range of areas”
Today – and I plan to do a follow up podcast with Brian Inkster, Solicitor of the Year in 2006 – I am looking at the impact a small, but growing, law firm in Scotland has made in but a few short years – Inksters. I reveal, at once, that Brian Inkster is a friend. My focus is on Brian’s use of social media and blogging as a tool for marketing his firm’s expertise. I shall ask Brian more about the way he practices law when I do the podcast with him later in the tour.
Scots lawyers have told me that Inksters is a firm that punches above its weight. A quick look at the history of Inksters will give you an insight into the way Inksters has developed and is an interesting read. It is worth drawing attention to the fact that Inksters, competing against some very well known Scots law firms, was one of six nominees for Litigation Firm of the Year in 2008.
Turning to specialist legal practice interests and the use of social media (Inksters was the first law firm in Scotland to use Twitter on 11 February 2009).
I met Brian Inkster initially on Twitter and later at an Italian Restaurant – we sat outside on a balmy Autumn evening, I recall, in Battersea Square. I enjoyed the evening and it was very clear to me that Brian, a man with considerable energy, had an innovative approach to marketing and the use of social media. Those who follow Brian on Twitter will know that he engages well with lawyers and non-lawyers alike. His many twitter accounts do not simply ‘broadcast’ – ‘they’ respond to questions and are more than prepared to engage in discussion – a valuable lesson some other law firms could benefit from.
Blogging can be a powerful tool for marketing if done well. There are many good examples of lawyer blogs which provide insight, analysis and comment into specialist areas of law. I apologise for any omissions – there are too many to list, pleasingly, but here is a small selection of some of the well known blogs written by lawyers: Nearly Legal, Conflict of Laws.net, The Bung Blog, Jack of Kent, The UKSC blog, Family Lore, The UK Human Rights blog.
Here is a more comprehensive survey of lawyer blogs which I covered in UK Blawg Review #10.
And on the issue of blogging – Brian Inkster has several styles – the light hearted yet insightful – The TimeBlawg – and the more serious.
Inksters Solicitors launched a dedicated Crofting Law Blog on 18 March 2013.
Over the three weeks prior to that Inksters posted eleven crofting law related news items on their general website. Most of these relate to the crofting law debacle created by the Crofting Commission when they suddenly announced that they were no longer processing applications to decroft (i.e. remove land from crofting tenure) made by owner-occupier crofters. The Scottish Government last week announced that it will introduce a Bill to correct the “flaw” in crofting legislation detected by the Crofting Commission. Brian Inkster has questioned whether there is in fact a flaw to remedy and clarity is still awaited from the Crofting Commission / Scottish Government as to what this flaw actually is. To date they have refused to publish the legal advice that they have obtained.
Brian Inkster said “Crofting law appears to be in turmoil in a way that has possibly not been seen since it was introduced in 1886. The time is surely ripe for a crofting law blog to air the issues arising in an open, clear and transparent way.”
While Crofting Law is a specialist legal topic – there is no doubt that Inksters will build their profile in this field with this new legal blog and resource.
Brian Inkster does not take himself too seriously – I thoroughly enjoyed (as did others) his use of Christmas Hat cards as a subtle marketing initiative
In the podcast, later on my tour, I will ask Brian Inkster about his approach to the practice of law. The Inksters website is well worth a look at as an example of law firm marketing, and for those of you who want to bone up on your crofting law – you know where to go!
Finally – it has to be said that Brian does a ‘mean tango’ – why am I not surprised? This interview on 22 tweets will give you an insight!