Message from The President
Message from the President
Thank you for the warm support and good wishes many of you have shared since my election as President. Although the AGM had plenty of food left over, I would like to thank those who attended.
Firstly, I want to pay tribute to our retiring President Alan East, who accompanied the badge of office to China and spoke there on the Magna Carta. It is a regret that we seem not to have the same respect for its values at present
Secondly, I thank John French for agreeing to be Vice President and I’m sure that we will work productively over the next year to ensure a smooth transition next February
Finally, I want to thank committee members standing down, Alan Lodge (Contentious) and Simon Sharp (Educatrion and Training), and Area representative, Trevor Dyer (Rugby), I thank them for their contributions over the years and know that I, and others, can tap into their substantial experience and knowledge.
The New Team
I am delighted that we retain key committee members. Alan East has kindly agreed to take responsibility for Education and Training. We also have great interest from the Young Lawyers and this is a theme that I shall be developing below and in my year.
Some Key Aims
-Increase membership and member involvement
-Secure a sound and sustainable financial base by both retaining existing sponsors and securing new sponsors
- Increasing involvement with The Warwickshire Young Lawyers and young lawyers
-More networking and social events.
-To explore a link with the Birmingham Law Society.
At a time when solicitors in legally-aided criminal law are under siege, and the relevance of the Solicitors’ ‘Brand’ is being questioned, an active and effective local and central Law Society is more important than ever. The challenge is not only to preserve membership levels when finances are tight, but increase our membership. Higher membership gives us greater legitimacy, greater collective bargaining power, greater strength and greater economies of scale.
As a Solicitor in Criminal Defence work, my attention has been focussed on the battle with the MoJ on funding over the last few years. I can reassure members not in public funded work that I am determined that the Society will serve the needs of all disciplines and is relevant and valuable to all.
I want to be clear in understanding what existing and potential members want from the WLS.
What services are of benefit?
What do we do well, what could we be doing better?
Training-live events or webinar?
Annual Dinner- black tie dinner, or informal party?
You, the members will be asked. I want bottom-up communication, and members to be as active and involved as they would like.
We will need to be creative in restoring our finances. Sponsorship and advertising will be included in revenue streams, to help us provide better services without increased cost for members. We hope shortly to have some good news regarding the rental of the first floor and some expressions of interest in the second floor. Not only will this assist in rental income but also stop the outgoings – rates etc. – on empty premises.
I formally thank both AON and Severn Trent Searches for their continuing support to the Society. I also want to thank those that support on an ad hoc basis.
I will ask all members to reach out to their contacts – including clients – who they feel might be interested in sponsoring the Society, whether as main sponsors or for specific events.
I hope to invite organisations who provide information re access to apprenticeships, can advise on Lexcel, can give advice on financial services generally and BTE and ATE insurance cover in particular to run seminars on these subjects. I will ask all members to attend such seminars where possible as they provide an important element to the society both by way of disseminating information but also sponsorship. If any member wishes to suggest a seminar, please let me know and I will contact them. What interests you is likely to interest your colleagues.
Birmingham Law Society
I am conscious that we are a proud and historic Society, guarding jealously our independence. I also am conscious that the ‘urban’ Societies are thriving. Birmingham have over 2500 members with more than 15 main sponsors. A number of such thriving Societies have forged links with their rural cousins with a view to – at little cost to the latter – allowing the resources of the urban Society’s to be made available to them. Once a package has been put together, I intend to offer it to the membership. I envisage that we would retain our name and assets but tap in to their training programme, events and possibly even sponsors. I believe that this would be attractive to current and prospective members and also to prospective sponsors.
There will opportunities for more networking and social events.
I have pencilled in the 4th November for the annual Dinner, further details will be sent out once known but please mark this out of your diaries
I thank the outgoing President of Warwickshire Young Lawyers, Hannah Bates, for her involvement in the Council and also congratulate her in being awarded Young Lawyer of the Year.
I welcome Laura Stuart as current President and look forward to working closely with her and her colleagues as I intend to tap into their enthusiasm to help me drive the Society forward this year. A number of their members have volunteered to assist the ‘older’ branch and I hope to attend as many as possible of their events.
In conclusion, the year ahead presents challenges, but also opportunities.
As new President I inherit a Law Society to be proud of, with a great history, and I hope you will all be part of the next chapter.