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The Law Society in the regions: January 2019

by Sarah Richards
4 January 2019

Sarah RichardsSarah Richards, relationship manager (South West and Midlands) gives an overview of the last month's activities.

During December, the Law Society’s relationship management team continued to work with members across the regions. However, the holiday season can mean that members are extra busy and go on leave. This gave the team time to plan activities for early 2019.

Across the country, we are currently preparing sessions on the changes to the SRA Handbook with our head of risk and compliance Pearl Moses, and planning LGBT History Month events and legal tech cafes.

In January, our deputy vice-president will address the Lancashire and Cumbria Regional Forum on key changes to the profession, the impact of Brexit, SRA Handbook changes, and price transparency.

Throughout December, our engagement with members has continued and has included:

Office holders and colleagues in the regions

Stephen Denyer, our director of strategic relationships, visited the University of the West of England and Bristol University to explore ways in which to collaborate with the Law Society.

We heard how the legal education landscape is preparing for change as entry into the profession faces the implementation of the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) in 2021.

As we have previously reported, the Law Society is leading a project on Women in Leadership in Law to promote gender equality in the legal profession.

As part of that initiative, we held roundtables in the North, Midlands and South West - led by our CEO, director of strategic relationships, and vice-president - for influential male leaders who are able and willing to act as male champions of change.

They have been extremely well received and attended. Thank you to all of those who supported this initiative by hosting or attending. January will see further men’s roundtables being held in London, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Contact us for further information on these events or to register your interest.

Local law society engagements

Members of the team have visited Derbyshire, Devon and Somerset, West Norfolk and Kings Lynn local law society committee meetings to update members on the Women in Law project, SQE, technology, price transparency, and our recent media coverage, which included our head of justice Richard Miller on Radio 4 and the BBC’s Today programme talking about the impact legal aid cuts have had on access to justice.

Member engagement

At the Law Society’s annual staff conference, the relationship management team shared with our colleagues examples of the work we do with our members and how we want to continue to increase collaboration between the Law Society and members based across the country.

We were also grateful to have several regional members present for one of the conference panel discussions - thanks to Charlotte Parkinson (vice chair of the Junior Lawyers Division), Mary Kaye (Birmingham and District Council Member) and Lubna Shuja (council member representing the Sole Practitioners Group).

In December, the chair and vice chair of the Ethnic Minority Lawyers Division attended the Yorkshire Union meeting and met with a Top 200 firm to speak to members about the barriers firms face around recruiting people from black and ethnic minority groups into the profession. If you would like more information on this, please contact us.

Members of the team attended the annual SRA COLP and COFA conference, where we heard about a variety of subjects including the reforms, what they mean to members and how they provide opportunities to work differently, protecting your firm from cybercrime and tackling money laundering, featuring a speaker from the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit, which was particularly eye opening.

We always continue to meet with individual firms, talking about issues relevant to them, which this month have included diversity and inclusion - particularly mental health and wellbeing - CSR, technology, and price transparency.

If you have any suggestions as to how we can better represent and support you in your region, we’d love to hear from you. Please contact your relationship manager.