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President’s Weekly Law Society update 29/04/2019

Your weekly Law Society update

 As the professional body for solicitors, every week the Law Society is working hard to influence the legal and regulatory environment on behalf of our profession and to promote solicitors at home and abroad. We support practice excellence, are an informed source of legal sector news and support members at every stage of their career.

Congratulations in order

I am sure you will join me in congratulating I. Stephanie Boyce following her election as Deputy Vice President. I am sure that with Simon, David and Stephanie as the 2019-20 Office holder team, we will be in good hands.

Nomination deadline extended for the Excellence Awards

Don’t miss the opportunity to celebrate your success, nominations for the Excellence Awards now close on Friday 3 May. For your chance to be recognised as a leader in your field submit your nomination now we encourage teams, firms and individual solicitors across England and Wales to take the opportunity to promote their success. There are 22 categories to choose from, including Practice Manager of the Year, Excellence in International Legal Services and Excellence in Access to Justice.

Here are some highlights from the past two weeks.

Influencing on behalf of the profession and promoting the profession


The Law Society’s media profile:

Anna Bradshaw, a member of our EU committee, appeared on BBC’s Today programme to discuss the decision to give legal aid to Shamima Begum to contest the government’s decision to revoke her UK citizenship. You can listen to the broadcast here. Anna’s on from 2:55:20. Meanwhile, Richard Miller, head of justice, took to the airwaves talking on the same topic. He was on BBC News at Six (07:49) and the News at 10. Richard also gave 13 radio interviews – Five Live, BBC Wales, BBC Ulster and a number of local BBC channels including BBC Merseyside, BBC Three Counties, BBC Cumbria, BBC Cornwall, BBC Foyle and BBC York. Deputy vice president David Greene appeared on BBC Radio London. The Guardian also quoted our support for Begum’s right to legal aid.

There was strong coverage of our legal aid deserts campaign showing the sparse – and sometimes non-existent – availability of advice for housing issues. As well as BBC R4 Today (1:06:50), BBC Breakfast featured the story along with BBC Suffolk, BBC Berkshire, BBC Norfolk. The story also ran all day on the BBC News Channel and on 17 regional TV outlets as well as on BBC Scotland and BBC Northern Ireland. There was also plenty of print and online coverage led by the Law Society Gazette. The Watford Observer covered the story as did Solicitors Journal, Cornish Stuff, and the Borehamwood and Elstree Times among others. Take a look at our legal aid desert map.The Guardian reported that more universities are teaching lawtech. I’m quoted.

The Telegraph reported the Legal Aid Agency has stopped using ‘Dear Sirs’ in automated responses and cites Law Society research that the majority of practising solicitors are now women.

The Gazette and the Times (£) both covered our call to Brunei to suspend sharia code which includes execution by stoning for people engaging in consensual same-sex relationships, stoning for adultery and amputation of limbs for robbery. All the office holders signed the letter on behalf of the Law Society.

I welcomed news the government has plans to end ‘no-fault evictions’ – the controversial practice of using Section 21 notices to terminate tenancies after a fixed period has ended. Here’s the story in BBC News – and the write-up in the Gazette.

The Guardian interviewed me on women in the law and why women still aren’t reaching the most senior levels.

Joy Merriam, former chair of our access to justice committee, appeared on BBC Points West (08:57) and BBC Radio Wiltshire (1:17:56) to discuss how the reforms to the ‘year and a day’ rule are implemented in a Wiltshire case.

My article on the SDT’s move to the civil standard of proof appeared in the Gazette. The Times also reports.

Solicitor Razia Jogi was interviewed on Pulse 1 Radio about forced marriage in Yorkshire and the legal frameworks in place to prevent this.

Legal Cheek and Law Careers reported my comments that gender imbalance is bad for business and on the role men must play in achieving greater equality in the profession. Also in Law Fuel.

Huffington Post discusses the impact of court closures on access to justice, quoting Richard Miller.


The Independent discusses how legal decisions conducted entirely by post can lead to miscarriages of justice, carrying comment from the Law Society.


The Gazette reports criminal barristers are prepared to walk out over fee disputes. Last year, the government pledged to increase spending on the revised Crown court fee scheme for advocates by £15m despite the Law Society revealing the proposals were actually worth only £8.6m. BBC News also carries the story. 


Northern Echo carries one of the Law Society’s latest legal advice columns this time featuring Jemma Morland who is a court of protection solicitor.

Don’t forget you can read all Law Society press releases by clicking on this link. For live updates follow us on Twitter.



Consultation responses and parliamentary activity, influencing on behalf of the profession:

Legal and Regulatory Policy

Access to Justice

Richard Miller, Head of Justice and I, also met with Susan Acland-Hood, CEO of HMCTS, for a wide ranging meeting discussing the reform programme.


Criminal Law

As part of our ongoing criminal justice campaign, we have launched a petition calling for the government to increase investment in the criminal justice system.  To add your digital signature to the 3,000+ already on the petition, and for further details on the campaign, please visit the campaign webpage


Solicitor Judges and Advocacy

As the Spring legal term draws to a close, the Law Society’s Solicitor Judges Division and Advocacy Support will be hosting a Spring drinks evening with solicitor advocates and solicitor judges on 14th May. 

Vice president Simon Davis and Alexandra Marks CBE will speak at this celebratory networking drinks evening, aimed at solicitors working in the courts, solicitor judges and those aspiring to join the judiciary and offering an opportunity to network with peers, make career contacts and discuss anecdotes and approaches to cases over a drink and canapes. Any members wishing to attend can book through our events page.

Public Law

Environmental Law

This week we attended a meeting at the department of environment and rural affairs on the draft Environment Bill. We are part of a stakeholder forum on the Bill and are trying to shape its content before it is laid in Parliament.



Justice oral questions

The Law Society’s criminal justice campaign was raised with justice ministers in the Commons on Tuesday, as MPs asked about criminal legal aid fees, duty solicitor numbers and the legal aid means test. In total the Law Society was mentioned 8 times during the session.


Legal aid deserts

On Thursday we launched a new legal aid deserts campaign, with a new heat map showing housing legal aid deserts across the country. The campaign received significant coverage in the media (see above).

Carey Street

Social Mobility

On Thursday I hosted a dinner discussion on the topic of social mobility in the legal profession with members from firms including Herbert Smith Freehills, Wedlake Bell and Weightmans, representatives from in house, a representative from the Ministry of Justice and also Birmingham University.

Our influencing work internationally:


On 25 April, Helena Raulus, head of our Brussels office met with Nick Collier, managing director, City of London Corporation Brussels Office


Supporting members at every stage of their career



Preparing 2nd year trainee solicitors for qualification – Career planning tips for trainees approaching qualification, – Thursday 9th  May 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
This event will provide an opportunity for trainee solicitors, mulling their post-training contract options, to gain insight into the newly qualified (NQ) jobs markets from Husnara Begum, a career coach who specialises in offering guidance to final seat trainees who miss out on internal jobs.

Advocacy and Solicitor Judges’ Division Spring Drinks, London – Tuesday 14th May 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
Join us for The Law Society’s Advocacy and Solicitor Judges’ Division Spring Drinks; an excellent opportunity to meet solicitor advocates and solicitor judges.

The Annual President’s and Secretaries’ Conference 2019 – Friday & Saturday 14th & 15th June 2019

Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL

This free, must-attend event for local law societies will incorporate a varied mix of plenary and breakout sessions. Delegates will have the opportunity to discuss common challenges, share experiences and hear practical tips from both their local law society peers and expert speakers.

Supporting practice excellence   

Some of our upcoming events are:


Private Client Section: Practical inheritance tax update, BirminghamTuesday 30th April 2019
Location: Birmingham – venue TBC
This seminar will provide a practical focus on recent changes affecting inheritance tax. This one-hour seminar will provide an update on: residence nil-rate bands and downsizing, business property relief, criminal facilitation of tax avoidance, and the future of inheritance tax and trust taxation.

Civil Litigation Section Spring Conference 2019 – Wednesday 1st May 2019

Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL

The Civil Litigation Section will be hosting a half day conference Wednesday 1 May at the Law Society, London. Topics to be covered include: The Disclosure Pilot, what the civil litigator needs to know about Brexit and briefings on costs in arbitrations and tribunals and the mediation of costs disputes. This conference is inclusive for Civil Litigation Section members / £100 + VAT for non-members.

Law Management Section annual conference 2019: success in an ever-changing worldThursday 2nd May 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
Registration is open to book your place at this year’s Law Management Section annual conference!

Compliance forum for COLPs/COFAs: SRA Standards and Regulations, London – Thursday 2nd May 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will be issuing new standards and regulations later this year which will replace the SRA Handbook. It will have a new reduced set of principles, two separate Codes of Conduct – an individual solicitor code and a firm code – and simplified Account Rules. This forum, aimed at COLPs and COFAs, will provide insight into the changes that you need to make.

CQS Roadshow, 2 May, Manchester – Thursday 2nd May 2019
Location: Centre for Assessment, Lee House, 90 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5JW
These seminars are designed to provide CQS members with an update on the improvements being made to the accreditation in 2019 and provide the support needed to ensure compliance with the new scheme requirements. There will be an opportunity for Q&A and for networking with speakers and members of other accredited practices.

MLRO and MLCO peer to peer learning, Manchester Tuesday 7th May 2019
Location: Shoosmiths, The XYZ Building, 2 Hardman Boulevard, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AZ
This event, aimed at MLRO’s, is designed to provide you with the platform to discuss best practice and upcoming developments in economic crime, while also acting as a peer to peer learning opportunity.

MLRO and MLCO peer to peer learning, Bristol – Wednesday 8th May 2019
Location: Bristol Law Society, 12 Colston Avenue, BS1 4ST
The event is for MLROs, MLCOs and solicitors with an interest in anti-money laundering compliance. It will give you a platform to learn about best practice and upcoming developments in AML.

Competition Section annual conference 2019 – Thursday 9th May 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
The annual Competition Section conference is an established fixture in the competition law calendar. This event draws on speakers from the UK and overseas and includes leading practitioners, regulators and economic experts.

Compliance support forum for in-house lawyers, London – Thursday 9th May 2019
Location: The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1PL
This popular forum has been updated with new materials to prepare you for the SRA Standards and Regulations which come into force in November 2019. Some of the key themes of this replacement to the SRA Handbook are very relevant to in house practitioners and we discuss the meaning of effective supervision and management, personal accountability, and the flexibility which comes with new practising styles.

Private Client Section: Practical inheritance tax update, Manchester – Thursday 9th   May 2019
Location: The University of Law, 2 New York Street, Manchester, M1 4HJ
This seminar will provide a practical focus on recent changes affecting inheritance tax. This one-hour seminar will provide an update on: residence nil-rate bands and downsizing, business property relief, criminal facilitation of tax avoidance, and the future of inheritance tax and trust taxation.

Keeping members up to date

We have a number of newsletters for members. Below is a list, along with links for signing up to them.


Sign-up method

Advocacy Update

Update My Law Society preferences

Anti-money Laundering Update

Law Society newsletter page

City Update

Contact the City relationship management team

Diversity & Inclusion Update

Update My Law Society preferences

In-house Forum

Update My Law Society preferences

International Update

Law Society newsletter page

Junior Lawyers Update

Law Society newsletter page

JLD sign-up page

Legal Aid Update

Law Society newsletter page

Professional Update

Law Society newsletter page

Regional Update

Contact your regional relationship management team

Risk & Compliance Update

Join the Risk and Compliance Service

Small Firms Focus

Contact the Small Firms Division

Solicitor Judges Update

Join the Solicitor Judges Division