President

Criminal legal aid solicitor elected Law Society deputy vice president

Richard Atkinson has won the Law Society of England and Wales 2022 election for deputy vice president of the solicitor profession, it was announced today.

Richard takes office in October 2022 – becoming vice president in 2023 and president in 2024 to 2025, when the Law Society will mark its 200th anniversary.

Richard has specialised in criminal law for 30 years with a focus on serious crime litigation. He is a duty solicitor and a higher rights advocate, representing clients in court.

Richard has been a Law Society council member since December 2016 as the constituency member for Kent. He sits on the Law Society’s criminal law committee, having chaired this committee for six years, and is a member of the Law Society’s policy and regulatory affairs committee.

He was shortlisted for Legal Personality of the Year at the Law Society Awards in 2021 and received a special award from the Legal Aid Practitioner Group for his work protecting solicitors who were providing legal advice to suspects detained in police stations during the pandemic.

Richard Atkinson said: “I am honoured to be elected as deputy vice president of the Law Society. I stood for office because of my strong belief in our profession, its values and the work it does to support our clients and uphold the rule of law.

“As lawyers we need to be courageous and speak out on behalf of those less able, for the independence of the legal system and institutions that are key to a functioning democracy. Many of these are under threat, not least our criminal justice system."

I. Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society, said: "My congratulations go to Richard Atkinson who emerged as the winner from a strong field of candidates. I wish him all the very best for his three years as a Law Society office holder.”

Richard Atkinson is a member of the Home Office’s Police and Criminal Evidence advisory board, the National disclosure forum and the Crown Court Improvement group. He was on the advisory panel for the recent Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid Chaired by Sir Christopher Bellamy QC.

Notes to editors

Photo available on request.

The Law Society has three elected office holders: the president, vice president and deputy vice president. They each hold office for one year. Each year the Council elects the deputy vice president; the previous year's deputy vice president becomes the vice president, and the vice president becomes president.

The handover takes place at the annual general meeting, which is held in October.

The office holders are the Law Society's main ambassadors and represent the organisation at home and abroad. The office of president is a full-time appointment, and the president is chair of the Law Society’s Council.

About the Law Society

The Law Society is the independent professional body that works globally to support and represent solicitors, promoting the highest professional standards, the public interest and the rule of law.

Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | 0208 049 3854

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