Join our Council or committees
Do you have a passion for supporting your profession? Do you want to speak up on behalf of your colleagues across England and Wales?
There are lots of opportunities for you to get involved with our work. You could:
- stand for election for our Council
- be elected or appointed to the Council Membership Committee (CMC)
- be appointed to one of our Policy and Regulatory Affairs sub-committees
- be appointed to serve on an external body through one of our external appointments
Council members are elected officials who:
- attend Council meetings and take part in forming our strategy and policy
- represent solicitors in discussions with the government and public bodies like the Legal Aid Agency
- review and debate our business plans and budgets
- represent the views of their constituency (geographical or special interest) at Council meetings
- liaise with members of the profession, including local law societies, sections and special interest groups, to explain our activities and report back to the Council
- liaise with external organisations about our work
- keep up to date with our work through policy papers and other documents
- approve appointments to Council committees
- approve the appointment of the chief executive
Council meetings take place on average five times a year and last all day.
One of these meetings is a strategic planning event. It gives Council members the chance to help create our strategy for supporting the profession and the public in the year ahead.
Council members serve terms of office of four years – except the Council member representing trainees/students, who serves for two years. Please note, however, that we are currently undertaking a governance review. As a result, these arrangements may change in the future.
Council members can currently stand again when their term of office expires.
Elections take place each year as current Council members’ terms expire. On average, a quarter of the geographical seats come up each year. The majority of the special interest seats come up together once every four years.
Council member terms are aligned with the Law Society’s annual general meeting (AGM), which is typically held in July. Due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, in 2020 the AGM will be held in October.
We encourage all eligible solicitors, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or disability, to consider standing for election.
Read about your eligibility to stand or nominate in the nomination form (Word, 126 KB).
Read more information for candidates (Word, 773 KB), including about canvassing and withdrawal of nominations.
We conduct the elections in accordance with the Law Society bye-laws (PDF 474 KB).
If you’d like to apply for a Council role, you’ll need to:
- complete the nomination form (Word, 126 KB)
- ask two eligible Law Society members to sign the form as your nominators
- write a candidate statement (up to 1,000 words)
- supply a head and shoulders photograph of yourself
It will not affect your application, but it's very helpful for monitoring purposes if you're able to fill in the optional equal opportunity form (Word, 775 KB).
Send the nomination form, statement and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the equal opportunity form if you chose to fill it in.
The nomination form and equal opportunity form have been updated since they were originally published. If you submitted your application using the original forms, this will still be accepted.
2020 Council elections timetable
Thursday 11 June – preliminary notice of Council elections posted on our website/nominations open
Friday 17 July (12 noon) – last day for receipt of nominations*
*This has been extended from the original date of 6 July.
Wednesday 22 July (12 noon) – last day for receipt of candidates' statements and photographs
Monday 17 August – voting papers despatched
Monday 21 September (4pm) – voting closes
Thursday 15 October – successful candidates take office at the conclusion of the AGM
If there is only one candidate for a constituency area at the close of nominations then that candidate is duly elected and will be informed late afternoon on Friday 17 July.
If you’re elected
We’ll provide a full induction and discuss any other training you feel you need to be fully effective in your role.
You’ll also need to undertake online equality and diversity training within six months of being elected.
Code of Conduct
You’ll need to comply with our Code of Conduct (PDF 244 KB) for council members. The code includes guidance on:
- conflicts of interest
- dignity at work
- member and staff relations
You’ll also be asked to register relevant interests on our published register of Council members’ interests (PDF 480 KB).
Our election scrutineer, Civica, sends ballot papers to members’ registered addresses.
You can vote in one of two ways:
- complete the ballot paper, sign it and return it to Civica in the reply-paid envelope
- use the two-part PIN, which is provided on the ballot paper, to register to vote electronically on the ERS Law Society elections webpage
Completing the ballot paper
The ballot paper lists the names of the candidates for each contested seat.
If there are only two candidates for one seat, put an X against the name of your preferred candidate.
If there are more than two candidates for one seat, put a 1 next to the name of your preferred candidate, 2 next to the name of your second preferred candidate and so on.
You do not need to vote for all the candidates – you can stop allocating preferences when you cannot decide between the remaining candidates.
You can read more about the voting process in Appendix 2 of the Law Society bye-laws (PDF 474 KB).
If you have any questions or need any more information about our voting process, email email@example.com.
The Council Membership Committee (CMC) is made up of elected and appointed members of the profession.
It advises Council on matters to do with its composition and representativeness.
If you want to nominate for an elected vacancy, email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
When applications open, we’ll update this page to let you know which vacancies are elected and which are appointed.
We appoint new members to our 25 policy and regulatory committees every year. Committee members are appointed for three-year terms, with the potential to renew their terms.
Roles are open to all members of the profession.
We reimburse committee members for reasonable expenses, and we provide an annual incidental expenses allowance.
We advertise our committee member vacancies:
- in the Gazette online and in print
- in our weekly Professional Update email newsletter
- in announcements from your local law society
- on Twitter and LinkedIn
- in newsletters published by our Communities, Sections and Divisions, such as City Update
- to our Law Society relationship managers and our policy advisors
We also encourage firms to include member vacancies in their own newsletters.
How to apply
Our annual Appointments programme starts in late February and is advertised in March. Interviews take place in April, processing in May and approvals in June. In lieu of a formal autumn programme, we’re now accepting open applications and may attempt to fill urgent vacancies in autumn.
You can find an alphabetical list of PRAC sub-committees in our member role description and terms document (Word 651 KB). Review the member role description for the committee you want to join and complete the application form.
All applications from 1 May 2020 must be completed on our new application form (Word 657 KB). Make sure you read the form carefully and follow all the instructions on it.
You can also fill in the optional equal opportunity form (Word, 767 KB).
Email the application form in Word format to email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you.
After you apply
We’ll let you know we’ve received your application and we’ll file it until our next Appointments programme begins.
When the programme opens, we’ll automatically forward your application to the appropriate committee chair for shortlisting. We’ll contact you if you’ve been shortlisted.
At various times throughout the year, we appoint or nominate members of Council as representatives to serve on external bodies.
Appointments to external organisations are referred to and advertised as 'external appointments'.
Queen’s Counsel Appointment Selection Panel solicitor member
The appointment of QCs is overseen by a selection panel comprising senior figures in professional and public life. There is a vacancy on the panel for a solicitor member to be appointed by the Law Society. All members of the profession are welcomed to apply.
The deadline for applications is 12 noon on Friday 30 October 2020.