What’s it like to be part of the Law Society’s Council?
My route onto Council was unusual. I’m a commercial lawyer in practice but live in a parallel universe of human rights as well.
I partly joined the Law Society because I couldn’t reconcile dealing with commercial mergers and acquisitions work with having to dash off to do hearings in Turkey – so I stopped doing case work and I joined the Human Rights Committee to do more policy work.
It was as a result of my work on the committee that I was persuaded to stand for Council. It’s my ninth year on Council and it’s flown by.
One of my motivations to join the Council was not just to represent the fine solicitors of Essex, but to also have more influence over the organisation and what it did.
I’m proudest of helping to develop the human rights agenda of the Law Society as the chair of the Human Rights Committee, and as a Council member.
Do you want to make a difference to the solicitor profession? Stand for Council.
I had the opportunity to bring various policy issues to Council from a human rights perspective that I wouldn’t have been able to do had I not been a Council member.
Interacting with members
A lot of the benefit of being a Council member is your interaction with other members. It’s a two-way process – you learn things in Council that you can take back to your work, but you also bring from your work that help in your role in Council.
There are going to be over 50 new Council members from October – over half the representative body is changing at the same time, which is pretty unique in the history of the Law Society.
They will bring a huge injection of energy into the organisation and different perspectives on the pressing policy issues we all face. It is a commitment, but I hope that people can be encouraged to stand.
Inspired by Tony’s story? Find out more about standing for Council
I have been on Council for three years.
I was initially invited to apply for the position because the serving Council member had stepped down before the end of their term for personal reasons.
After a year on Council, I stood for election because I believed that I could be of service to my constituents. I won and my new four-year term started on 4 July 2019.
Discovering the resources and support available for members
I think the most rewarding thing about being part of Council is being able to share with members all the sterling work the Law Society does. Many are unaware – as indeed I was before I got involved.
In fact, I think I had only been to Chancery Lane for a couple of evening events organised by the Women Lawyers’ Division since my admission as a solicitor!
My goal is to make sure our members know about what we do and the support available for them.
One example is Brexit; I was pleasantly surprised to discover the number of resources on the Law Society website and took the opportunity to share this with members and obtain feedback.
We do great work, we just need to do a better job publicising it.
If you are thinking about standing for Council, I would encourage you to.
There are different routes in, either through:
- your area of law or particular interest
- working groups and committees, or
- your local Law Society
In my experience, once you see all the good work up close, and see how it really benefits us all as members, you will be hooked.
Inspired by Eunice’s story? Find out more about standing for Council
Council has been a constant in my life for 11 years, but it seems like only yesterday that I joined.
During that time, I’ve been able to contribute to important issues such as legal aid and regulation, and it’s incredibly rewarding to see points I’ve put forward reflected in decisions made by the Law Society.
I’m particularly proud of the role I’ve played in regulatory matters, having chaired the regulatory affairs board for 18 months.
Reflecting the diversity of the profession
I’m also one of three representatives for the ethnic minority solicitors’ constituency.
I believe it’s vitally important that Council reflects the diversity of the profession so that the interests of ethnic minority solicitors are promoted adequately and the issues they face are reflected in the Law Society’s activities.
Our work towards diversity is crucial, although I look forward to the day when it’s no longer needed.
Engaging with solicitors from other specialities
On a personal level, as a sole practitioner, being on Council has added so much to the richness of my legal life.
I’ve had the chance to engage with solicitors from other areas and specialities, and to develop so many personal skills and opportunities.
I feel lucky to have been elected to this role and I’m determined to get the most out of it for the profession and on a personal level.
If you are ready to invest the time, put your hand up and contribute, I recommend you stand for Council.
I don’t think my career would have been as satisfying had it not been for my experience as a Council member.
Inspired by Sundeep’s story? Find out more about standing for Council
Make your voice heard: stand for Council
If you want to influence our activities and give back to the profession, stand for Council to make your voice heard and contribute directly to our plans.
We invite nominations from solicitors from all types of practice and backgrounds.
Our Council members are the voice of the profession, so it’s important that the diversity and regional distribution of our membership is represented.
If you don’t wish to stand for Council yourself, is there anyone in your network who might?