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Q & A with the Law Society's campaign manager

12 April 2018

A chance to find out more about the campaigns that the Law Society is working on, and how members can get involved.

What does your team do?

The campaigns function is part of the Public Affairs team. As campaigns manager, I develop and manage the Law Society's policy-influencing campaigns, including:

  • our campaign to bring back legal aid for early advice
  • our campaign to increase the means test
  • our campaign to end legal aid deserts

We also manage the organisation's 'global legal centre' campaign, which promotes the benefits of English and Welsh Law.

Law Society campaigns generally focus on influencing the government, and the public, on key issues for the legal profession. We work closely with teams across the organisation, drawing on the expertise of public affairs, media, policy, corporate communications, and relationship management.

What have been your team's successes on behalf of the members in the last 12 months?

The early advice campaign has so far been very successful, receiving vocal support from MPs across both the Conservative and Labour parties. For example, a number of MPs and Lords have made parliamentary interventions in suport of our campaign, and over 20 MPs attended our campaign drop-in session, including the Shadow Lord Chancellor Richard Burgon, former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith (pictured below, top), and Labour MP David Lammy (pictured below, bottom).

Iain Duncan Smith

David Lammy

We have also received widespread press coverage for the campaign, including on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Buzzfeed, and in The Guardian, and over 400 members have written to their local MP about the campaign. This coverage and parliamentary support help us build the case to government that legal aid for early advice should be re-introduced as part of its current review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act.

One of our other access to justice campaigns, on legal aid deserts, was mentioned several times by the Shadow Lord Chancellor Richard Burgon (pictured below) at the Labour Party Conference, who also also wrote an article about the campaign in The Guardian, and mentioned it in his response to the Bach Review.

Richard Burgon

As for our global legal centre campaign, our promotional videos have been viewed over 100,000 times across countries including Brazil, Canada, Australia and the USA, and we work in close partnership with the Ministry of Justice as part of its 'Legal Services are GREAT' campaign. Our work in this area helps to promote the important work of English and Welsh solicitors overseas.

What is your team currently working on?

One of our current priorities is the legal aid means test. We published a report in March highlighting that the test is preventing families in poverty from accessing justice. It shows that people on incomes 10 to 30 per cent below the minimum income standard are being excluded from legal aid, meaning that poverty-hit families are being denied vital help to address potentially life-changing legal issues. We're currently promoting this in the media, and through our social media channels, and building awareness amongst MPs.

More broadly speaking, we are looking to further involve our members in our campaigning work. For example, members can currently write to their local MP, and share their support on social media. Currently we are encouraging members to tweet photos of themselves holding signs in support of our early advice campaign.

Why is this important for the Law Society's members?

Law Society campaigns are crucial in providing a high-profile voice for member concerns, and work towards driving policy change. It is also an area of our work where members can, and should, get directly involved - member involvement in this area will only make our campaigns stronger.

What is on the horizon for your team?

We will be working closely with the policy team as part of their work on the government's review of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act. This work ties in closely with our campaigns on early advice and legal aid deserts, and our ongoing work on the legal aid means test.

How can members engage with you on these topics?

Feel free to get in touch with us by email.

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