Reflections of a Lady President

Wow, the first woman President of the Society of Advocates in Aberdeen – who would have thought it!

The Society has been in existence for well over 400 years and yet it was not until the mid 1960s that the first woman was admitted as a member of the Society – another Elizabeth – this time Elizabeth Barnett of A C Morrison & Richards.  When I look over the list of distinguished gentlemen who have occupied the role as President – among them a number of former partners of James & George Collie as well as our present Senior Partner, Tony Dawson, I am truly humbled and honoured by the trust placed in me.   As a dinosaur myself, I was keen to preserve the traditions of the Society but at the same time was conscious that any such organisation needs to evolve and remain relevant to the needs of a modernising profession.


It was a whirlwind of a year.  One of our past Presidents defined the purposes of the Society as “Representation, Education and Socialisation”, or rather “Inebriation”, which is a much more apt description.   We have, during the course of the year, raised with the Law Society a number of issues which have caused concern to our members.  We have provided Continuous Professional Development through seminars, and under the heading of “Socialisation/Inebriation” arranged a varied programme of social events throughout the year, which included monthly lunches in our magnificent library, fundraising quiz and race nights, theatre dining evenings, away days to Pitlochry Theatre, Perth Races and Sunday lunch at Creagan, to name but a few.

My chosen Charity during my Presidential year was The Euan MacDonald Centre for Research into Motor Neurone Disease not only MND but also Parkinson’s Disease, MS and diseases generally where the function of the motor neurones is affected.  Members and Friends of the Society have put together a Recipe Book “Canapés at Court and other Culinary Concoctions” which is now on sale price £7.50.  Copies are available direct from the Society by contacting Maria Robertson on or the Firm.  It is a very worthy cause and your support would be appreciated.

I demitted office last November after a very busy and most enjoyable year with the huge and added satisfaction of having broken the glass ceiling which hopefully will result in the appointment of further Lady Presidents in the years to come.   I will now try to reclaim my waistline after the many formal Dinners and Social Events I attended representing the Society.

Liz Mackinnon


Society of Advocates in Aberdeen


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