Presidents Report including the Society’s Spectacular Annual Dinner
Despite Lesley telling me two weeks before the Dinner that I was on course to be the first president to break the administrator, I am pleased to report that Lesley remains unbroken and the evening was a success.
To those not there, I can report that the Grade 1 listed Old Shire Hall and Warwick District Council put on a show. It ceased being a working Crown Court six years ago but was built with the help of public subscriptions to host the Warwick Assizes from the late 15th Century.
My guests were treated to a tour of one of only two (and the largest) beehive dungeons in the country. Tim Elmore spoke of Warwick transporting the greatest number of people to Australia of any non metropolitan Court and sending 700+ men and a substantial number of women to the gallows – often for minor offences such as minor theft and rustling.
Dorothy Spencer came from London to talk about the Citizenship Foundation and their promotion of Lawyers in Schools which aims to match Lawyers to schools to teach year 10 students about the Law and the rights and obligations created by it. I have already presented the introductory sessions in two local schools, Trinity in Leamington Spa and President Kennedy in Coventry and Barrister Kevin Saunders has presented in Birmingham. They re looking for more volunteers. http://www.lawyersinschools.org.uk
Jane Bailey from Motionhouse introduced Daniel and Luka who treated us to a spectacular performance, their grace and strength amazed us. They’re off to Denmark on Sunday following a successful UK tour and will be performing in Birmingham in January and Warwick School hall in February. It was a very special treat to have them here. http://www.motionhouse.co.uk
Lisa-jane Gooden from Mcmillan told us a little about the great work that they do and I know that your support for my charity is fully appreciated. Through your generosity – and that of our donors, JLR, Wasps, Motionhouse, Johnny Reay and Murray Brankin, we have raised £768 (plus £150 Gift Aid) for this worthy cause. http://www.macmillan.org.uk/fundraising/inyourarea/england/warwickshire/warwickshire.aspx
The caterers Wild View Events served delicious food throughout the evening. Caterers website http://www.wildviewevents.co.uk
Ed Browne from Robert Walters sponsored and presented the prizes. Last year we inaugurated the Young lawyer award and, in a strong field, we congratulate James Leighfield and Kristy Ainge from Band Hatton Button LLP and particularly the winner Laura Stuart from Brethertons LLP who has excelled this year as Chair of Junior Lawyers Division. https://www.robertwalters.co.uk/contact-us/united-kingdom/robert-walters-birmingham.html
This year we inaugurated three new categories:-
In house lawyers - I congratulate JLR.
Firm of the year, 1 to 5 partners - Congratulations to Jackson West
Firm of the year, 6+ partners - Congratulations to Wright Hassall
Modesty prevents me from referring to my speech in any detail but I quoted The former Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf who this month asked Ministry of Justice’s representative whether he accepted that:- ‘what is happening in relation to legal aid is damaging the reputation of our justice system and that the judges up and down the country are finding it difficult to administer justice?
I wanted my year to be about engaging with the local community, bringing through the young lawyers and increasing membership by making us more relevant.
I have invited all of the local MPs to to meet with us to discuss the legal issues involving their constituents and
Nadhim Zahawi, MP for Stratford,
Jim Cunningham, MP for Cov south,
Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby,
Caroline Spelman, MP for Meriden and Chris White MP for Warwick and Leamington have all offered appointments and following initial meetings set for in November I hope to make this a twice yearly event. I welcome any members to accompany me to these meetings. I await hearing from others.
I compliment both Hannah Bates and Laura Stuart, past and current presidents of Junior Lawyers Division, increasing membership from 100 to nearly 200. We need to encourage the young lawyers as they are the members of the future.
John Hughes (President of Birmingham LS) and I are exploring working towards an affiliation with Birmingham LS so as to give our members access to the services they provide. This without losing our independence.
I’ve also set up a sub committee to consider how we might broaden our membership base, in particular to invite paralegals, Institute of legal executives and Barristers.
I welcomed Michael Mogan who told us about his role as director of fundraising in the Bid for Coventry being awarded the title of City of Culture in 2021. https://coventry2021.co.uk
Finally, and much anticipated, we heard from His Honour Judge Griffiths-Jones, the Honorary Recorder of Coventry and Warwickshire, now based at the justice centre in Leamington Spa. The position of Recorder has a long history and the position dates back to 1345 when the City of Coventry was granted a Royal Charter by King Edward III. This building had been his second home for many years and his reminiscences of this Court were enjoyed.
I thank our sponsors, AON Risk Solutions, Severn Trent Searches and St Ives Chambers for their generosity. I thank Lesley for making this happen. I thank the staff of Old Shire Hall who made the evening run smoothly.
I’d like to thank those that attended and to those that didn’t – You missed a treat.