Business review and annual report
For nearly 200 years, we have championed solicitors working in the public interest, and their role in protecting rights and promoting justice.
Our mission is to promote the value of the profession, protect the justice system and support our members with a compelling offer.
Our key achievements in 2021/22
The Law Society is a place where solicitors can connect, grow and thrive.
We provide a comprehensive package of support, including trusted resources, support services, training and events, and exclusive member offers, and advocate for our members on the issues they have told us matter most, including the rule of law and access to justice.
Although national lockdowns and COVID-19 restrictions were largely behind us by November 2021, the legal profession continued to face challenges post-pandemic.
High inflation and political instability meant the business landscape remained uncertain, for both our members and for us as an organisation.
Despite this, we continued progressing our agenda on behalf of members.
We worked to improve our member offer and member experience, and to support our members’ practice through trusted resources, and the expansion of our learning and development offer.
During 2021/22, we successfully transitioned our Wales Committee to a new National Board for Wales, allowing for effective and empowered decision making against the backdrop of increasing devolutionary pressures and divergence in law between England and Wales.
We continued to defend solicitors against political attacks, and continued championing our members’ interests and making sure their views were heard by decision makers at the highest levels.
This included lobbying the government on key legislation and reform and engaging with regulators.
Over 30,000 members registered for our events
It was a challenging year for our events team as they continued to recover from the impact of the pandemic and adapt to a new hybrid environment.
Despite this, the total number of registrations for our events was 30,884 over the year.
Our biggest conference of the year, the Anti-money Laundering and Financial Crime Conference, saw 519 members attend – both online and in-person.
Solicitors also made the most of the learning opportunities provided through our events, but tailored to suit their schedules, with our on-demand event recordings being viewed over 11,000 times.
Highest ever PC fee consultation responses
Through our practising certificate (PC) fee consultation, we offer members an opportunity to shape our future plans and contribute to our strategic and business goals.
For the second year in a row, we received the highest ever number of responses for the consultation with 1,461 solicitors taking part – 57% more than the previous highest response of 927 in 2020/21.
In-person engagements: 700+ members in 15 locations nationwide
We continued to roll out the president’s programme of regional in-person engagements, which involved over 700 members in 15 different locations across the country.
Through talks, roundtables, networking receptions and meetings, our then president I. Stephanie Boyce met with law firms, in-house counsel, aspiring lawyers and other stakeholders.
2,000+ members connected via our online forum, Connect
Over 2,000 members connected with each other on Connect, our online forum for solicitors working at small firms or as sole practitioners.
The forum provides opportunities to exchange ideas, discuss problems and support each other with the issues affecting them and their businesses.
33,000+ members signed up for tailored resources and learning
33,262 new members signed up to make the most of their membership through My LS. Since its launch in July 2020, over 95,000 solicitors have registered on the online platform and 94% continue to be active users.
2021/22 was also a successful year for Law Society Learning, our learning and development platform, with registered users increasing by 55% to a total of 7,421 throughout the year.
Strengthening diversity and inclusion in the profession
We launched our Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Framework – a practical three-step guide that helps members develop a strategic approach to D&I.
Alongside the framework, we also launched a new D&I hub on our website, providing members with the resources and guidance they need to deliver on their organisational D&I goals and build more inclusive workplaces.
Campaigning to protect criminal legal aid
We continued to push for fairer funding for legal aid. We engaged closely with the government as they undertook a review of criminal legal aid and stood firm in our position that the government must implement the full 15% increase to legal aid rates recommended by Lord Bellamy’s independent review.
We have also campaigned to raise awareness of the challenges criminal practitioners face in their day-to-day practice and the impact of the court backlog.
Influencing legislation and policy development
The past year has been marked by political instability. Throughout this volatile period, we have maintained effective working relationships with government ministers and officials in government departments, and parliamentarians of all colours.
We achieved major influencing success on the Judicial Review and Courts Act 2022 by persuading the government to drop a statutory presumption that would have directed judges to use particular remedies in judicial review cases – a provision that we had argued would fetter judicial discretion.
Our views on the Bill of Rights Bill were cited by more than 1,000 media outlets worldwide, and we also had success in securing an exemption for legal professional privilege as part of proposals for a foreign influence registration scheme included in the National Security Bill.
During the year, we saw several attacks on members of the legal profession, in the media and from political leaders, for challenging government plans to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda.
In response, our then president I.Stephanie Boyce made strong statements warning against criticising solicitors for doing their jobs. We also raised concerns directly with senior ministers.
We released a joint statement with the Bar Council in June 2022 warning of the dangers of misleading statements being made about lawyers and the profession by political leaders.
Our joint statement with the Bar Council was picked up by more than 100 different media outlets.
We remain vigilant to these attacks on the profession and will continue to defend and advocate for our members.
Looking ahead: 2022/2025 Corporate Strategy
In October 2022, we reached the end of our 2018/2022 five-year strategy.
Our previous five-year strategy focused heavily on transforming the Law Society by investing in new digital platforms and capabilities to improve member experience.
We also modernised 113 Chancery Lane and created a clearer operating model to focus the organisation on the needs of members and on our public interest responsibilities.
Our new three-year corporate strategy is ambitious, member focused, and aims to increase our value to our members.
Our vision is to promote, protect and support solicitors, the rule of law and justice in England and Wales.
Our focus over the next three years will be on increasing member awareness and engagement with our work, recognising that our diverse membership requires different types of support to enhance their sense of belonging to the Law Society.
Alongside this, we will continue to be an active champion of the justice system and the rule of law.
Annual report and business review
The Law Society Group annual report (4 MB) was signed off by our president, Lubna Shuja, and Board chair, Robert Bourns, on 12 July 2023.
The full report gives information on:
- who we are and how we are governed
- what the Law Society Group achieved in 2021/22
- the Law Society and SRA business reviews
- detailed accounts and consolidated financial statements
- a full financial review