lab’ where employee suggestions for better ways of working are prototyped). Henderson has been, and still

is, on an ‘A to Z’ (Ayr to Zetland) tour of Scotland, engaging with those who depend on the organi- sation. She is leading a team with an enormous challenge. Not all land or property in Scotland is registered and RoS has been man- dated by the Scottish Government to fix that by 2024. Until then, property owners can volunteer to register and the sale or remortgag- ing of a property acts as a trigger for registration on the Land Regis- ter. Ultimately, the Keeper has the power to transfer property titles - from the old General Register of Sasines onto the Land Register of Scotland - without an application from the owner.

Because the centuries-old Sasines is based on descriptions, not drawings - ‘Ma barn neist tae the auld bridge aat the lowse i’ the road’, sort of thing - the other big headache is moving everything to a map-based system. Fixing that requires modern technologies, and real skill. Once achieved, however, Henderson hopes RoS will be a truly paperless organisation. It is also developing digital

tools, for solicitors and lenders principally, that could revolution- ise the way property is transacted in Scotland. A secure online service for confirming that a mortgage has been repaid – the DDS (digital discharge service) - was introduced last year. Te next step will be the abil-

ity to digitally confirm that a mortgage has been taken out on a property; a digital securities service. Tere are some techni- cal, and potentially legislative, hoops to jump through before this is possible. What will defi- nitely stop the flood of post into Meadowbank House is making registration of ownership digital. “Our ultimate goal is to make everything digital, submitted at the press of a button,” said Hen- derson. Until then, the Keeper will be back in the post room this winter helping with the pre- Christmas flurry of post.

Driving innovation in Scotland’s law sector

Identifying, enhancing and designing solutions which will deliver practical benefits


As a nation, Scotland rightly is proud of its history of innovation. As a profession however, lawyers around the globe have been slower to harness the advantages technology can bring. Tat’s something we want - and need - to change with Scottish solicitors. Te globally respected FinTech

Scotland community has been enormously successful in bring- ing together the financial services sector with technology and aca- demia. We want to emulate its success within the legal sector. We’ve seen a significant

number of English law firms invest heavily in legaltech in recent years and, while many of these firms are cross-border and operate in Scotland, we are yet to see independent Scottish firms do this to the same level. It’s our ambition to enable an environment which supports in- novative thinking and provides a mechanism to support the development of tech-based solu- tions which will benefit Scottish solicitors and their clients. Many activities involved in

providing legal services – as in other industries - are likely to be automated during the next 20 years. However, the rising use of technology is also likely to lead to increased output. Legaltech is set to speed up processes, sup- port lawyers in delivering better service, lower risk and poten- tially help lawyers re-balance their work and personal lives. AI technology, such as auto-

mated document analysis, can already process documents far faster than a human being ever could and means reduced costs and lower error rates. However this should not be seen as a

threat to law firms or the role of solicitors - it is liberating law- yers to allow them to do what they do best and devote their en- ergy to applying their legal rea- soning to difficult dilemmas or to argue the points that will help win their client cases. Tere will always be the need for a lawyer’s personal experience, knowledge and insight in providing the reassurance clients need. All change brings risks, but

the biggest risk from legaltech would be the failure of lawyers to engage in and shape its develop- ment to ensure solutions which meet the needs of the profession and of their clients. Tis is why we launched LawscotTech ahead of AI Day at the International Bar Association (IBA) Conference in Rome in October. LawscotTech will provide a

means of influencing the devel- opment of legaltech in Scotland. It is a collaborative model which encourages solicitors and their employees, whether they work at a large commercial firm, a high street firm serving a rural com- munity or in-house, to articulate the challenges they face and, by collaborating with technology firms, the academic commu- nity and others, help identify, enhance and design solutions which will deliver practical ben- efits. Tere is technology already out there that is not being fully used, technology intended for other sectors that can be adopted by solicitors as well as new en- trants to the market. We plan to draw all this to the surface and help solicitors navigate their options and facilitate dialogue to shape the future. We’ve had a great response

to LawscotTech so far, both at home and further afield. We’ve

already held the first in our series of events across Scotland to bring together solicitors and tech experts, with others to fol- low over the next few weeks. At our first overseas trade mission in Zurich in November we joined four Scottish companies, Amiqus Resolution, Juralio, SnapDragon and Miso Legal, as part of a UK- wide contingent, resulting in very positive feedback – Nearly a third of the UK tech

companies who joined this UK Department of International Trade (DiT) funded mission were Scottish companies. It was an impressive line up that clearly marked how far advanced the UK already is, with pitches to the Swiss law firm audience that educated us on the options out there. Tese types of events allow us to share insight that leads to collaboration which ignites further innovation. We hope to support the DiT and Scottish Enterprise, who were more than instrumental in making the event a success, on further missions. We can’t - and nor do we want

to - stop the tides of techno- logical advance, but it’s essential that we take action to shape and harness its power. New technologies could make a huge difference in opening up access to justice but we are always go- ing to need the trusted advisor, the compassionate human, the lawyer, who will ultimately be relied upon to help people. And that is why most lawyers chose this great profession.

Find out more and get involved at

Paul Mosson, Executive Director of Member Services and Engagement at the Law Society of Scotland.


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