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Chief executive and office holders

  • The Law Society has three elected office holders: the president, vice president and deputy vice president. They each hold office for one year.

    Each year the Council elects the deputy vice president; the previous year's deputy vice president becomes the vice president and the vice president becomes president. The handover takes place at the annual general meeting in July each year.

    The office holders are the Law Society’s main ambassadors and represent the organisation at home and abroad. The office of president is a full-time appointment and the president is chair of the Council.

    The chief executive is responsible to the Council and the Management Board.

    President - Robert Bourns
    Vice president - Joe Egan
    Deputy vice president - Christina Blacklaws
    Chief executive - Catherine Dixon

    President - Robert Bourns

    Robert Bourns

    Robert Bourns is the 172nd president of the Law Society of England and Wales. He took the post in July 2016 after being voted into office, as deputy vice president in 2014.

    Robert has significant experience managing and developing a growing business across the UK, having been managing partner for six years, and senior partner for four terms, at TLT Solicitors. He specialises in employment law - particularly with associated regulatory law and commercial firm practice management. He also has experience practising as an advocate, having spent the early part of his career in criminal defence.

    Robert joined the Council of the Law Society in 2011 and is an elected member of the Management Board. He is one of five representatives for the City of London constituency, and is a member of the Law Society's Equality and Diversity Committee.

    In his home city of Bristol, Robert is actively involved in a number projects and pro bono work. He has been a trustee and chair of a Hospice for nine years, the founder and director of the Room 13 arts project and a trustee of Ablaze - a charity devoted to promoting levels of attainment and opportunity for young people in deprived areas. He is also the chair of Bristol's Quartet Community Foundation and well-known in the area for his commitment to social justice.

    More about the president

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    Vice president - Joe Egan

    Joe Egan

    Joe Egan was admitted in 1982 and set up his own firm in 1986, specialising in criminal law. Joe became the first solicitor in Bolton to achieve the right to appear in the Crown courts when he was granted higher rights in 1995. Based in Bolton, his firm has expanded to include matrimonial, personal injury, civil litigation and property work.

    For over 15 years, Joe has been joint honorary secretary of Bolton Law Society, where he was also a past president. Since 1996, he has represented solicitors in Lancashire and Greater Manchester on the Law Society's Council.

    Joe is a member of the Bolton College Audit Committee and is chair of Citizens Advice Bolton.

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    Deputy vice president - Christina Blacklaws

    Christina Blacklaws

    Christina Blacklaws studied Jurisprudence at the University of Oxford and qualified as a solicitor in 1991. A family lawyer by background, she has successfully run and managed both large scale high-street and virtual law firms. Christina set up the Co-operative Legal Services family law offering in 2011 and then moved into the role of director of policy.

    Christina now holds the role of chief operating officer at a top 100 firm, Cripps LLP and is responsible for strategic change and operational management.

    Christina has an extensive record of high-profile representative roles, which currently includes a public appointment as an executive member of the Family Justice Council.

    She is a long-standing member of the Law Society's Council, representing the Women Lawyers Division; the author of numerous articles, a well-known speaker and lecturer and a frequent media commentator.

    Christina is married to Graham, has 4 grown up children and lives in Kent.

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    Chief executive - Catherine Dixon

    Catherine Dixon

    Catherine Dixon was brought up in Yorkshire, and then qualified as a solicitor, having gained a law degree and completed her Law Society finals at the College of Law in York. She also has an MBA and is an accredited mediator.

    Catherine started her career in private practice, working at Eversheds. She then joined Bupa, as the head of legal and subsequently as the commercial director of Bupa Care Services. Catherine left Bupa to spend a few years in Vancouver, Canada, initially out of the office as an instructor for Outward Bound and then as a director at Vancouver Coastal Health Authority.

    Returning to the UK, Catherine joined the NSPCC as its general counsel and company secretary. In April 2012, she became the chief executive of the NHS Litigation Authority, which indemnifies the NHS against legal claims and supports learning and improved patient safety across the NHS. Catherine is also a trustee for the PDSA, which provides care to animals whose owners cannot afford to pay.

    In January 2015, Catherine took up the position of chief executive of the Law Society of England and Wales.

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