The review of governance of the Law Society of England and Wales took a step forward today after the organisation’s governing council approved the appointment of Robert Bourns as chair of the new board following a wide-ranging recruitment process.
Robert has been closely involved with the Law Society as a member of Council since 2011 and was president in the year to July 2017. Prior to his work at Chancery Lane he was president of the Bristol Law Society.
Law Society president Joe Egan said: “I welcome Robert into the new role. Having worked with him in the office holder team, I am delighted with the appointment. As has already been announced, the new Board represents a significant streamlining of existing structures for the professional body for solicitors.”
As well as Robert Bourns, the Board will include the Law Society office holders, five other council members elected by council, two appointed solicitor members who are not council members and up to two appointed lay members. The chief executive and executive director of delivery and performance will be non-voting board members.
Robert Bourns said: “I’m excited to be taking this crucial role and look forward to working with council, office holders and the executive as they continue to modernise the Law Society – building on its excellent work and creating an offer to its members that will serve the solicitor profession and public alike.”
Changes to the structures of Law Society governance also include two new committees: Policy and Regulatory Committee; and Membership and Operations Committee.
Robert Bourns read Law at Cardiff University and completed his articles at Osborne Clarke in Bristol, being admitted as a solicitor in 1980. He started life as a criminal lawyer and, three years after qualification, was headhunted by another local firm which had seen him in action as an advocate in the local courts. That firm, Trump and Partners, merged several times to form what is now TLT.
Throughout his career Robert has had leadership roles in his firms. He was managing partner of Trump and Partners and managing partner of TLT post-merger (until 2002). From 2002 until 2015 he was senior partner of the firm as it went national, expanding to some 1,000 employees and 100 partners. He chaired the firm’s Governance and Oversight Board, its Remuneration Committee, its Promotion Committee and, of course, partner meetings.
He stood down as senior partner in order to take up the role as president of the Law Society (2016-2017). After the close of his presidential year he returned to work as a partner at TLT.
Robert has long had complementary interests beyond his firm and, for three years, chaired St Peter's Hospice in Bristol, having previously been a trustee of that organisation. Since 2014 he has chaired a community foundation, Quartet, and is on the governing board of a local academy in Bristol.
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