An Update From Austin Lafferty

Well, what a week. Our law firm has been going 33 years, growing and developing year on year, starting with me, an assistant and a Yopper (ask your parents) in a couple of rooms in East Kilbride. Over the years we added personnel , including my brilliant partner John Roberts, having a commercial nous with a reliable moral compass, and we have refined our range of legal services in an increasingly specialised world including finding the best sites for our 4 offices. Some days easier than others, but getting a wee bit better and stronger every day, week, month, year. And then, all of a sudden, our and everyone's feet are ca'ed from under us.

Tonight I watched again, the BBC Scotland documentary about the Lisbon Lions. I am not a footie person, but you could not help being struck by the players, and their wives and families, and their basic decency and resilience. Local boys and girls, they got on with it and took the bounty but also the brickbats with equal equanimity.

This week, the lock-down of personal and business structures has been dramatic, worrying and potentially very dangerous to our business and many others. We have re-organised our team of a couple of dozen, to work from home with me sitting in the office - scanning, copying, printing, banking. I sent an email round everyone saying I expect to win the annual office admin prize (Strictly Come Scanning) this year, such is my growing expertise in the technical tasks required. Office junior? Well, office senior more like.

I said a couple of nights ago we have been blindsided by the Registers of Scotland closing - it means no-one can move house - and that will be the difference as to whether we thrive or survive - but it already looks like RoS, the Law Society, the mortgage lenders and the Scottish Government will give us a fix, even if ugly and gritty, to get the job done - sooner the better.

Some folk think that every so often we need a war or a big change in society to sort out the problems. I am no sociologist, and I can't speak authoritatively on the woke movement or what is best to make a strong society. But the unprecedented and comprehensive fracture of our norms that Covid-19 has brought us has to be addressed and dealt with. Resilience, old fashioned grit, innovation, humility and optimism are all necessary. Do we still have them?   

I don't know what the next few weeks of legal practice will bring. But I feel supported and collegiate. Bring it on, frankly. My modern Lisbon Lions and Lionesses will rally round. I know the franking machine. I can scan for Britain. And on Monday I am to learn... the credit card terminal.


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