Have you ever wondered what the W.S in our name stands for?

23 February 2017

W.S. stands for ‘Writers to the Signet’ and is widely recognised as signifying exceptional standards of competence and integrity within the Scottish legal profession.

Historically the Signet was the private royal seal of the early Scottish Kings. Once King James VI went to London to become King James I, he and subsequent Kings and Queens could no longer readily affix the royal seal to documents in person; it was the Writers to the Signet who became authorised to supervise its use and, later, to act as clerks to the Courts.

The WS Society was established definitively by 1594. It owns, and operates from, the Signet Library in Edinburgh’s Old Town, adjacent to the Courts and St. Giles Cathedral, a building which it established from 1810.

Each Writer to the Signet is an inducted member of the W.S. Society and belongs to Scotland’s College of Justice along with the nation’s senior judges, known as Senators, and its advocates, the equivalent of barristers.
Our current Partners are all Writers to the Signet in their own name, which enables “W.S.” to be included as part of our firm’s name.

It is interesting that very few other firms nowadays, of those entitled to, use the W.S. suffix, but we are proud to be associated with this long legal history and to use the suffix in our firm name.