Corporate strategy 2022/2025
The Law Society was founded in 1825 to be the independent professional body for solicitors in England and Wales.
Our objectives are to promote the value of the profession, protect the justice system and support our members with a compelling offer.
During this nearly 200-year history we have been run by and for our members. With the passage of time the needs of our members have become increasingly more complex and diverse.
Our last five-year strategy focused heavily on transforming the Law Society by investing in new digital platforms and capabilities to improve the member experience.
Our new three-year corporate strategy (2022-2025) presented here is ambitious and member-focused. It is a strategy to grow service and value for our members funded by increased commercial income as well as a rise in the Practising Certificate fee.
Our last five year strategy focused heavily on transforming the Law Society given the many areas of improvement required across the organisation.
We invested in improved member services through digital platforms. We have modernised our home in 113 Chancery Lane and created a clearer operating model to focus the Law Society on the needs of members and on its public interest responsibilities.
No organisation can claim its change process is over and the Law Society is no different.
However whilst the next three years will be a much less intensive period of technology transformation, we do need to continue the process of change in how we prioritise our work and how we organise ourselves to ensure we are agile and able to respond to member need and policy developments.
The Law Society navigated a complex transformation programme whilst also managing to weather the challenges of the pandemic which impacted every part of our organisation and our membership.
We supported our members by cutting our proportion of the PC fee by 10% following many years of reducing costs to members. Our new strategy is a step change as it sees us growing our income once more, both through an increase via the PC fee and through higher commercial income.
This growth in income will underpin an ambitious three-year strategy that puts members and the justice system at the heart of our work.
The three-year strategy takes us to our 200th anniversary in 2025 which is a significant milestone for the Law Society and an opportunity to celebrate the difference our justice system and our profession has made to society.
The past five years has impacted every part of the organisation and what we have learned informs our approach to delivery in this strategy.
Our ability to introduce new digital platforms has matured over the past three years and we will continue to embed an agile approach to our project teams.
We responded quickly to support members during the initial shock of the pandemic and lockdown and will continue to responsively convene the right members to inform the support and guidance we provide on emerging issues.
Just like every other organisation, we have adapted to remote and hybrid operations and will integrate this into our future approach for both staff and member engagement.
We have pursued a strategy over the past five years to keep the PC flat or reduce it and have driven down the cost base of the organisation but this is not a sustainable approach for the future.
We are ambitious to deliver more for our members and must recognise that ambition requires resource to succeed.
Given the scale of change over the past five years, it is also clear that we need to be confident that our governance processes and controls are robust and, importantly, are well understood by all parts of the organisation.
The Law Society staff and elected and appointed members will succeed through alignment to a single plan that focuses on delivery for members in an ever changing operating environment.
Finally, the Law Society has an incredibly powerful voice when it is mobilised and focuses on the biggest issues that members care most about. We have the ability to shape and influence our environment but this takes discipline and a commitment to prioritisation.
Politically and economically the next few years may be as uncertain and unpredictable as the past five years. We need to embed managing uncertainty into our plans.
The pandemic and the Ukrainian crisis will cast long shadows across the coming years and clearly impact all parts of the operating environment for our members, their clients, the government, regulators and the Law Society.
An assessment of the operating environment tells us that our focus needs to be on increasing member awareness and engagement with the Law Society, and that our service offer needs to be stronger, particularly given new challenges around rises in the cost of living and the impact on mental health and wellbeing.
We also recognise that member segments require different types of support to enhance their sense of belonging to the Law Society.
The current size and shape of the profession
During the last decade there have been notable changes in the make-up of the profession (source Annual Statistics Report).
We will continue to monitor the make-up of the profession on an annual basis so that it closely informs development of our priorities and member offer.
Key to improving the member experience (awareness, engagement, sense of belonging and satisfaction) is being able to clearly define, articulate and communicate to each member segment the role of the Law Society in supporting and delivering value to our members, from a solicitor’s first interaction with the Law Society, continuing throughout their career.
To make the most powerful impact with our resources, we will focus on the priorities that matter most to our members as they address the professional and business challenges arising from the context described above.
To maintain that focus and alignment with our members’ priorities we have set four strategic objectives for the period 2022-2025. Those objectives are to:
In delivering these objectives we will use research, insight, and data to inform all our services, activities, and digital offerings. Where evidence is not available or clear, we will look to work with members and other partners to fill those gaps.
We will also break down barriers to make the Law Society more diverse and inclusive. Both through our people, making sure that we are responding to staff needs in a way that is relevant and meaningful to them and their circumstance, and by advocating for greater equality, diversity, and inclusion across the legal profession.
We will build our achievements over three years. Our four objectives will remain the same over that period, but we will develop more detailed plans on how we will deliver them during each year, as we work to increase capacity and capability, making sure we operate as a learning organisation and one that builds on its successes from year to year.
1. We will promote the value of the profession and provide a compelling member offer
We know our members care deeply about their profession and as a professional body we have a unique role and responsibility in promoting the difference they make.
Our profession is a critical contributor to every local community and economy across England and Wales. It is a British success story, a net exporter and the source of high quality and productive jobs.
The profession offers a wide range of career options and its work upholds fundamental values of justice and fairness. Our strategic communications and engagement need to better reflect this complexity and the value the profession brings.
2. We will protect the justice system and make sure it applies to everyone equally
We are a leading voice on legal policy issues, and we have the ambition to be more influential with a wider range of stakeholders.
Not only is justice and the rule of law a basic underpinning of our own democracy, but it is also at the heart of the UK’s international reputation and reach and therefore of huge value economically and strategically.
3. We will maximise our potential by growing our commercial reach, by being efficient and sustainable
Like every organisation, we face increased costs and business and economic uncertainty, however we have learned a lot over the past two years operating under the shadow of the pandemic.
We have developed our commercial capabilities and changed how we deliver many of our commercial products to take advantage of the efficiencies and improvements that digital delivery brings.
4. We will be an employer of choice for people who want to make a difference
As we move towards our 200th anniversary, we want to celebrate our heritage but also look forward to being an organisation that attracts and retains diverse and talented people.
Our members uphold the rule of law and our justice system, both key principles underpinning the values of our society. We know our team already feels passionately that this work makes a difference and are proud of their role and the part they play.
This is a sound platform to build on and will enable us to enhance member value through organisational efficiencies, growth and developing our people.
There is much to be done over the coming three years and working closely with our members and wider stakeholders will be essential to successful delivery.
As a member there are many ways to get involved. You can share views on Law Society Connect or get involved in our governance through standing for election to one of our committees or Council or be part of our member insight panel.
For our stakeholders, we are keen to hear about where you think we can work better together to ensure we do as much as we can to meet our vision to promote, protect and support solicitors, the rule of law and justice in England and Wales.