From the president: Week beginning 25 March 2013
Week beginning: 25 March
My activities this week have very much focused on our Council meeting on Wednesday, where we had some important issues to discuss.
Helping the high street
Top of the agenda was a debate focusing on helping the high street. We had a presentation setting out the many issues that our members on the high street have been having to contend with, and those that are due to hit us next week, when the LASPOA changes take place, and next month, with the changes in fixed recoverable costs in RTA Portal cases.
It went on to describe the efforts and achievements of the Law Society in responding to these challenges on behalf of the profession and in providing help to it.
We then spent time in groups and in plenary sessions discussing what more we can do to give the high street the tools it needs to survive the storm. There was, of course, a realistic appreciation by Council members of the magnitude of the problems, but in addition there was a belief in the underlying strengths of high street practices, and many practical suggestions as to how firms and individuals could rethink their services and remodel their businesses to adapt to changing circumstances.
There will be a report of our debate in next week’s Gazette, and we will subsequently be following up many of the ideas put forward in this debate.
A later debate focused on the arrangements for filling the Council’s non-geographical seats, which range from seats for specific areas of practice, such as personal injury or civil litigation, to seats reserved for under-represented groups, such as BAME solicitors and junior lawyers, and those for people in certain types of organisations, such as the voluntary sector or the Government Legal Service.
The election process for 16 of these seats, and also 16 of the geographical seats representing constituencies, opened today. Nominations close on 17 April.
I have spoken widely of my hope that more solicitors will stand for Council.
It’s your Society and your Council, and we will be most effective if we reflect the modern profession. We can best achieve this if solicitors from all backgrounds, practices and areas of expertise consider standing for election. The creativity of youth is just as important as the wisdom of maturity, and the involvement of those who will still be working as lawyers in 30 years is as essential to a balanced Council as the involvement of those who have been in the profession for decades already.
It puzzles me why more solicitors don’t choose to stand for election to get their voices heard. Being on Council is not onerous, but it is a responsibility that allows you to help tackle some of the really big challenges the profession is currently facing. It also gives you, and your firm, an unrivalled opportunity to understand exactly what is going on in a myriad different parts of the profession, including law reform, regulation and good practice.
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a happy Easter. Whatever you are doing, or whatever the weather, I hope you enjoy the bank holiday weekend and have a well-deserved break.
President of the Law Society of England and Wales