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The Law Society in the regions: November 2018

by Claire Quinn
19 November 2018

Claire QuinnOver the last month, the Law Society's relationship management team has engaged with members around the country to discuss, among other things, ethics in the law and diversity and inclusion in the profession.

The team has also joined you in celebrating excellence in the profession. Claire Quinn, relationship manager (North), reports on last month's activities.

Ethics in the Law roundtables

How tolerant should we be of mistakes? Is advising an unethical client unethical? These are just some of the discussion points raised at our lively roundtables held in conjunction with Sheffield and Leeds local law societies.

We discussed topics ranging from the internal pressures of the profession through to how lawyers can retain the trust of the public in the current environment.

The discussions were led by Paul Wilson, head of Regulatory Affairs at the Law Society, with expert academic input from Joan Loughrey, professor of Law at the University of Leeds.

We were delighted that participants included a wide range from the profession including representatives from local law societies, in-house, local law schools and different size law firms.

For a flavour of the discussion, a video of the roundtables will be available on the Law Society website shortly. In the meantime, view films of previous events.

Diversity and inclusion events

The relationship management team has continued to work closely with the Law Society's diversity and inclusion team. With your support, we have met with a variety of members over the last month to discuss diversity and inclusion in the profession.

This month our president was invited to speak at one of the largest firms in Surrey on the topic of gender diversity. The firms are developing a number of initiatives in this area and invited Christina Blacklaws to talk about the Women in Law project and the business benefits of gender diversity. We were delighted to see 60 members of the firm attend the event.

With the help and support of the Black Solicitors Network North, we held a highly successful Black History Month celebration at Freshfields in Manchester. The event took the form of a panel discussion on diversity in the legal profession and attracted over 80 students, junior lawyers and solicitors.

We are approaching the first anniversary of our diversity and inclusion regional forums. Last month, forums met in Leeds, London and Birmingham. We are not stopping there, and many more regional forum meetings are being planned for 2019.

If you would like to join one of the diversity and inclusion regional forums, find out more about how to join.

Regional stakeholder meetings

In October, we carried on with our aim of bringing together regional stakeholders.

In Liverpool, we held our second North West regional forum at which Katherine Mercer, Law Society interim director of public affairs presented.

In Newcastle, our director of strategic relationships Stephen Denyer welcomed a range of stakeholders to a networking lunch and discussion. We were delighted to be joined by North East local law societies, firms, Law Society Council and committee members and universities. Thank you to everyone in the North East for their support for this event.

The Midlands and South West relationship management team held its quarterly Association of South Western Lawyers meeting in Taunton and also attended the South West Risk Group monthly meeting.

Excellence Awards dinner

A huge congratulations to the winners from around the regions and also to all of those highly commended and shortlisted!

The relationship management team enjoyed an evening of celebration with our regional members at the Excellence Awards dinner on 17 October. See full details and photographs of the event.

It's not too early to start thinking about next year's Excellence Awards. Are you interested in entering? Nominations will be open on Friday 1 February 2019. For updates on the 2019 awards, including nomination and ceremony dates, register to receive key updates.

Ownership and corporate structure

IPOs, mergers and conversions from LLP to ABS are getting headlines again, and the relationship management team has been carrying forward the conversation into its meetings with Top 100 law firms in London.

Leaders in our top firms are sharing their experiences with us on the drivers or reviewing corporate structure and ownership, challenges in building consensus for change within a partnership, the governance implications required for inward investment and the practicalities of leading a newly restructured firm.

We continue to fact find in this area and would welcome any comments and insights directly from members on this topic - please email jack.dunkley@lawsociety.org.uk.