Rosie Walker, head of litigation and associate at Gilson Grey, did not see regulation as a particularly available vocation when she was younger, and as an alternative decided to review politics and background at the University of Edinburgh. But although she was a university student, she suggests she realised the significance of legislation in society and made the decision that was the profession for her. Since then she has been concerned in some substantial-profile circumstances, normally in the political sphere, and is one of Scotland’s couple election legislation professionals. A person of her most noteworthy instances was acting for Liberal Democrat MP and former Scottish Secretary of Point out, Alistair Carmichael, in the very first election demo in Scotland for 50 years and the 1st scenario to be televised all through the Uk.
Ms Walker states: “Being a law firm was one thing I considered about at university, but at that place it did not appear like a incredibly obtainable profession. I didn’t know any lawyers and I almost certainly felt lawyers who I noticed on television seemed and sounded very taken off from my existence. I was feminine, Scottish and I had pretty a lot of surgical procedures as a kid and have a exclusive limp. It just did not truly feel like a career that I would be quite at ease in.
“But finding out politics, in individual, gave me an insight into how important law is in culture. That persuaded me to do an accelerated LLB and that was my route into my job.”
Ms Walker was with Morisons Solicitors for just about 13 many years, transferring up from senior affiliate stage to staying appointed a husband or wife in 2013, ahead of going to Gilson Grey in 2015. Beginning out, she says she did a large traineeship and observed she loved each litigation and transactional work, but has targeted extra on the former in the course of her career.
“I experienced some superior mentors who labored in the subject of litigation, like Alex Garioch who was my first boss when I was a trainee and who I’m now in partnership with,” she describes. “And litigation is definitely just dilemma fixing a whole lot of the time. I commenced to realise a wide variety of individuals and modest enterprises could all have fairly attention-grabbing and hard challenges that I could engage in a job in serving to them correct. That’s definitely what took me into professional litigation.”
She identifies acting for Alistair Carmichael as one of the highlights of her vocation. The MP for Orkney and Shetland had been caught up in a row about a memo leaked from his office when he was Scottish Secretary ahead of a normal election. The court docket in the end rejected the try, introduced about by a petition, to unseat Mr Carmichael.
Ms Walker points out: “A ton of my perform requires professional litigation and I’ve been lucky more than enough to have very a whole lot of big business circumstances with an intercontinental factor, which I like. But surely, the political things has played a huge aspect in my profession. The Alistair Carmichael scenario was the very first election petition in Scotland for more than 50 several years and I successfully defended a obstacle to Alistair’s election. It was quite a superior-profile case with a lot of strange elements. It was the 1st civil scenario to be dwell-televised which brought a full extra stress. But it also gave an perception into how law and politics can be made use of strategically to enhance every single other.
“Since then I’ve been lucky adequate to have been concerned in a selection of other election or political circumstances and can see the position that law can engage in in shielding and policing our democracies. That is really crucial.”
In other sections of her operate in the realm of politics, Ms Walker has attained interim interdicts through election campaigns towards candidates from other events who have made statements which were being regarded to breach electoral legislation or be defamatory. She has also dealt with worries all-around election bills and troubles involving cost-free speech and the policing of the behaviour of some elected associates.
“Current occasions all over the world exhibit how important it is to have a society that’s based around the rule of legislation. You have to have lawyers to generate the regulations, enforce the laws, test the rules, and law enforcement the regulations. I believe it’s truly critical you have a nutritious legal occupation for all of people explanations,” she adds.
Another component of her legal function that she specifically enjoys is its intercontinental factor which she claims offers the possibility to get the job done with clients, legal professionals and other pros from distinct jurisdictions all over the entire world. “It’s extremely easy in a smaller jurisdiction like Scotland to develop into accustomed to just one way of working,” she notes. “I assume the chance to see how other countries do factors is definitely priceless. It tends to make you question the assumptions behind a good deal of how we function as Scottish attorneys.”
On the worldwide entrance, Ms Walker believes a lot of the consequences of Brexit may well have been delayed for the reason that of Covid-19 but that, heading ahead, it could perhaps restrict solutions for some of her consumers.
She sees a quantity of other issues dealing with the career at the minute, but points out that a great deal of these will also carry opportunities. Write-up-pandemic, she clarifies that elements of the job are going through troubles close to recruitment and retention of team, for instance as individuals at all amounts reassess their work-life equilibrium.
“Firms who can meet up with those people challenges are heading to be the ones who can arrive out of this the greatest,” she suggests. “You require to useful resource your company very well and that includes dealing with your team very well and comprehension how to get the greatest out of your staff members. That’s a truly vital obstacle we’re all going to have to experience. For my business, we want to entry and retain the most effective talent.”
And she sees recruiting a diverse selection of people today into lawful occupations as vital for culture as effectively as for particular person regulation firms. She describes: “We want to make sure that Scotland’s lawyers reflect the culture they appear from. You have to have a occupation which seems eye-catching to people from a selection of backgrounds.”
In terms of variety and inclusion, she thinks a great deal of progress has been produced in excess of the a long time, but warns that there is nevertheless a extensive way to go. For case in point, she details to the decline of expertise that occurs, notably with woman solicitors as they move up by their companies. “There is not diversity across the job and it does not totally reflect the diversity of modern society. Till it does mirror modern society there’s often more perform to do,” she adds.
In her own career Ms Walker believes she has been “very lucky” in possessing supportive colleagues, pointing out that she was produced a husband or wife with Morisons when she returned to work right after maternity depart.
While she is continue to involved with situations, a whole lot of her time at Gilson Gray is now used on management and a current concentration is obtaining the group into a “new normal” way of functioning. She says a ton of her energies will be concentrated on ensuring the crew is thoroughly re-built-in.
“There are worries for youthful members in my team and across the career who have had to operate remotely and have skipped out on some of the normal on-the-job understanding encounters,” she suggests. “I assume the complete job requires to operate very really hard to make sure far more junior members of the career are in a position to development with out any downside from a extended time period of operating from residence.”
She is also eager on the occupation actively playing its part in guaranteeing the courts do the job in the most effective manner as every person emerges from the pandemic. She believes there have been some added benefits brought about by variations to how things are finished in the course of Covid-19, these as electronic development as a consequence of remote doing work. And she expects that selected procedural hearings will continue on to be dealt with remotely. But she is eager to emphasise the benefits of undertaking selected factors facial area-to-facial area.
“Ultimately it is significant for justice to be carried out, and for justice to be witnessed to be done, and I consider that is ideal served in open courtroom in man or woman,” concludes Ms Walker.