Emma Lejeune, Partner at ISOLAS LLP, earlier this month spoke to the Gibraltar Chronicle on the recent changes seen in the Rock’s legal sector.
Emma is the first woman to become Vice Chair of the Law Council. She has achieved this through her diligence and continued involvement with the legal sector. Speaking of her role, Emma said: “‘It is a privilege to be appointed Vice Chair of the Law Council and work alongside our current Chair, Kenneth Navas and the rest of the board members, all of whom dedicate their time to dealing with matters presented to the Council. The legal profession has always been and continues to be a strong pillar of our community and our role as a Council is therefore an important one. This even more so, with the evolution of the legal industry through the implementation of a more structured regulatory framework via the LSRA (our new regulatory body) as well as the transition from what originated as the Bar Council to the now Law Council, which includes all members of the legal profession and not just barristers or solicitors working in private firms. Although I am not much of a feminist, the coincidental fact that I am the first female Vice Chair holds testimony to the women coming up through the ranks in the Gibraltar bar and I hope this will pave the way and encourage other female lawyers to become more involved in the legal industry.”
The newly-constituted Law Council, successor body to the General Council of the Bar, is given several functions under the Legal Services Act 2017, including regulating standards of anyone practising in the legal profession in Gibraltar, and to implement policies relating to all matters affecting said profession.
Speaking to the Gibraltar Chronicle, Emma commented on the regulatory shakeup brought about by the implementation of the Legal Services Act: “I think the call for regulation has inevitably been a call for unity in terms of the legal profession. It consolidates the legal profession and its representative body.
“We now become more relevant in the regulatory sphere because we are the gateway, the voice which will be knocking at the regulator's door if there are any issues, [and acting] as an ear for the regulator if they need some guidance.”
The advent of COVID-19 at the start of the year has undoubtedly caused a different sort of shakeup within the legal community, presenting its own unique set of challenges. In addition, the threat of Brexit remains on the horizon. Despite this, Emma believes that lawyers are “generally positive” about future prospects.
“In the financial services and a commercial side of things we've seen an increase in the business coming in. Also in the private client [sector], we've seen a very big interest in Gibraltar,” Emma told the Chronicle. “Brexit has put us on the map in a very big way.”
To read the full interview, visit: Gibraltar Chronicle.
Image © Johnny Bugeja/Gibraltar Chronicle