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Chief executive and office holders

  • President – Andrew Caplen
    Vice president – Jonathan Smithers
    Deputy vice president – Robert Bourns
    Chief executive – Des Hudson

    Andrew Caplen President - Andrew Caplen

    Andrew Caplen is the president of the Law Society. He is a consultant with Heppenstalls, a predominantly private client firm in Hampshire with offices in Lymington and New Milton.

    Andrew has been the Law Society Council member for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since 2000 and has a particular interest in access to justice. He was one of the co-authors of the Law Society’s Access to Justice Review and has written and spoken widely on access to justice and legal aid issues.

    Andrew was brought up and educated in Hampshire and has worked in Hampshire throughout his legal career. He has had experience in a number of areas of law since qualification.

    Andrew was chair of the Law Society's Access to Justice Committee from 2008 until 2012. He was chair of the Law Society’s Management Board and treasurer of the Law Society Group from 2010 until 2012. He also co-chaired the Group’s Business Oversight Board during its first year of operation.

    He is married to Lindsay, an ordained church minister. In his spare time, he is a fan of Southampton FC and an avid trail-walker, completing long distance routes in many parts of the world.

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    Jonathan Smithers Vice president - Jonathan Smithers

    Jonathan Smithers began his articles training in 1984 at the firm CooperBurnett in Tunbridge Wells, where he still practises. He qualified in 1986 and became an equity partner in 1990. He has been head of the firm's property department and managing partner for over 20 years.

    Jonathan has been involved in local law societies for over 25 years. He was elected president of Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge & District Law Society in 2002 and president of Kent Law Society in 2007/8. He is actively involved in his local constituency and for the last five years has helped establish and deliver the Local Law Society Presidents and Secretaries Conference.

    Jonathan joined the Law Society Council in 2007 representing over 2,000 solicitors in the Kent constituency. He has also held positions on the Membership Board and the Law Society Gazette Editorial Advisory Board.

    He is the immediate past chair of the Conveyancing and Land Law Committee and was instrumental in setting up the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, first on its project board and then as a member of the technical panel. He co-authored the Conveyancing Protocol and the Law Society's Code for Completion by Post.

    Jonathan represents the Society as a media spokesperson on a range of property law issues and sits on the Land Registry Rules Committee.

    Jonathan is a member of the Oriana Singers, one of the most active choirs in the south east, based in Tunbridge Wells, and has sung in over 40 English cathedrals.

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    Deputy vice president - Robert Bourns

    Robert Bourns is senior partner at TLT and became deputy vice president of the Law Society in July 2014.

    He is expected to become president of the Law Society in 2016.

    Robert began his training in 1978 at Osborne Clarke and qualified in 1980. Robert has significant experience managing and developing a growing business across the UK, having been managing partner for six years and more recently senior partner at TLT.

    The deputy vice president has been involved in local law societies for many years, having been a secretary and president of Bristol Law Society and secretary of the Association of South Western Law Societies.

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

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    Chief executive - Des Hudson

    Desmond HudsonDes Hudson was born in Halifax, Yorkshire, and graduated in law from the University of Leeds in 1977. He qualified as a solicitor in 1980 and worked in private practice until 1987. During that time he became a salaried partner in a major provincial law firm in the north west of England, specialising in crime and child protection work.

    In 1987 Des joined the Yorkshire Building Society as an assistant solicitor and held a number of positions during five years there. In 1992 he took up the post of head of lending at the Britannia Building Society. In 1995 he became operations director of Britannia Life, and in the following year he was made managing director.

    In 1998 Des joined SMG (Scottish Media Group) to become chief executive of their publishing division and was appointed a director of SMG plc in 1999.

    Des joined the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland in September 2004 as chief executive designate, subsequently becoming chief executive.

    On 4 September 2006 Des took up the position of chief executive of the Law Society of England and Wales.

    He is married with three children.

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