Tributes pour in for former leader of the Law Society of Scotland’s in-house lawyers group

Janet Hood, a Scottish licensing specialist, died suddenly last week

Janet Hood

Janet Hood, one of Scotland’s leading lights in the licensing trade and former leader of the Law Society of Scotland’s in-house lawyers group, passed away last week.

Hood was a solicitor specialising in liquor licensing and related legislation relevant to Scotland’s retail, hospitality and tourism businesses.

She acted as a consultant to several Scottish law firms and offered a bespoke service to licensees and others. An accredited specialist in licensing law, she also served as an in-house lawyer with Aberdeen Council for 21 years and was a member of the Writers to the Signet Society.

In addition to her licensing law responsibilities, she was a former chair of the Law Society of Scotland’s in-house lawyers group (ILG), a role she held for more than 15 years. She was also convener of its equality and diversity committee and Law Society council member for 18 years.

Law Society president Susan Murray said she was “deeply saddened” to hear of Hood’s passing.

Murray said: “Janet was a proud Scottish solicitor and very well-known across the profession. She made a huge contribution to the work of the Law Society, bringing her trademark energy and enthusiasm to her role as a council member for almost two decades. She initially co-opted to represent in-house solicitors before standing to represent solicitors in Dundee.

“As chair of the Law Society’s then in-house lawyers group for over 16 years, she was a passionate advocate for in-house lawyers and their important role in their organisations.

“Janet was also a great champion for equality, diversity and inclusion within the profession and led our work in this area for many years as convener of [that] committee.”

Murray concluded: “I know she will be very much missed, and we send our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.”

Sheekha Saha, Law Society council member and current co-convener of the Society’s in-house lawyers committee, also paid tribute, saying: “I am just heartbroken at the news of Janet. She was an exceptional colleague, a fearless advocate for justice and those she cared about, of whom there were many.

“She gave selflessly to the profession she loved so much and championed in-house lawyers in particular, encouraging us to speak up and be proud to be more visible, all with her irrepressible energy, determination and warmth. She was absolutely her own person, dedicated to serving others, generous beyond measure and a treasured friend who will be sorely missed.”

Former long-serving CEO of the Law Society, Lorna Jack, said: “Janet was the first council member I met (outside of the recruitment panel), and she kindly invited me to the ILG annual dinner in November before I started in the new role. She introduced me to a ton of people that night. And so, we started a great working relationship over 15 years ago.”

Jack said Hood was “fearless, fun and always fully committed to whatever she took on. She and I didn’t always agree on everything, but I respected that she spoke her mind passionately. The world is a little less colourful (including her signature amber) without her”.

Professional contemporaries agreed. On LinkedIn, Alistair Drummond of DLA Piper in Scotland said: “She just wanted to help you to become a better lawyer and promote a responsible licensing trade.” 

Meanwhile, fellow DLA Piper partner Naomi Pryde, a former council member, said: “She was an absolute hoot. I have some really fond memories of her – she was a larger-than-life character.”

Fellow licensing solicitor Stephen McGowan of TLT, posted a lengthy and heartfelt tribute on his blog, concluding: “Many across the solicitor profession in Scotland, and amongst the Scottish licensed trade, will have benefited from her passion, drive and encouragement.”

Her colleagues at the Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce said Hood was “a huge supporter of the local food and drink scene, a champion of hundreds of Dundee and Angus businesses, and a good friend to many in our region”.

Hood, who died just before her 67th birthday, is survived by her husband and family. 

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