The Law Society President

The Law Society President's Update


Your weekly Law Society update


As the professional body for solicitors, every week the Law Society is working hard to influence the legal and regulatory environment on behalf of our profession and to promote solicitors at home and abroad. We support practice excellence, are an informed source of legal sector news and support members at every stage of their career.


Here are some highlights from last week.


Influencing on behalf of the profession and promoting the profession


The Law Society’s media profile this week:


Cris McCurley appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday to discuss the domestic abuse bill. You can listen here with the interview starting at 1:37:00. Cris was also featured on BBC Essex, BBC Berkshire and BBC London. And both the Gazette and Buzzfeed covered the same issue. Meanwhile, Jenny Beck was quoted in the Telegraph saying: “Economic abuse leaves victims without financial resources to get legal help. Recognition must be accompanied by more legal aid.”

Sheree Green was on Newsnight to express concern that care homes would be given too much influence in deprivation of liberty decisions under government proposals to amend the Mental Capacity Act. You can watch the programme here at 21:13. Radio 4’s World at One also featured the story in their lunchtime news bulletin. You can listen to it here. The Law Society is mentioned at 05:16. The Times also discusses shared concerns raised by charities working with vulnerable people likely to be affected by the legislation.


The Gazette reported on the courts service’s roll out of its probate application system. Ian Bond, chair of the Law Society’s wills and equity committee, said that the online system “absolutely has its place and can be a great tool for administering simple estates”.

Three years on from the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act (MSA) in 2015, the Gazette investigates modern slavery in the UK and examines the role solicitors play in putting an end to modern slavery. Tony Fisher is quoted.

The Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) group are urging the SRA to abandon its decision to scrap mandatory minimum salaries for trainees. According to updated statistics, a quarter of trainees are working for less than the recommended minimum salary. The latest Law Society guidance suggests that providers of training contracts should pay their trainees £21,561 in London and £19,122 outside the capital. Full details in the Gazette.


Heads of legal will not be included in a new accountability regime for top executives, the City watchdog has decided. Responding, the Law Society said in-house legal teams would greet the FCA's decision with a 'sigh of relief'. Full reports in the Gazette and Global Legal Post.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has apologised after multiple IT outages caused chaos in the criminal courts and the wider justice system nationwide. Thousands of cases have been disrupted as the courts came to a halt. The crashes have stopped jurors from being enrolled and left staff unable to retrieve some court files, adjourning several prosecutions. National news outlets cite Gazette coverage which highlights that in some courts barristers or solicitors had not had access to key documents ahead of hearings, and that others had been accused of missing hearings they were not aware of due to the IT outage. Full details in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Daily Mail, The Sun, Legal Cheek and the BBC. The courts IT crashes were also mentioned on BBC Radio Lincolnshire. You can listen to the broadcast here starting from 1:08:19.

The Gazette reports how proposed revisions to rules governing the relationship between the Law Society and the SRA are inconsistent with the Legal Services Act. In our consultation response the Society expressed concern the changes could “create a context in which disagreements are more likely to arise”. The story is also covered in Legal Futures.

The press office is working with solicitors and regional papers to provide agony aunt-style columns on major legal issues. If you would like to participate, please email


Don’t forget you can read all Law Society press releases by clicking on this link. For live updates follow us on Twitter.


Consultation responses and parliamentary activity, influencing on behalf of the profession:


On Tuesday 22 January, the House of Commons considered the amendments made in the Lords to the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. The Law Society was mentioned three times during the debate, including a quotation from the oral evidence given by Richard Atkinson to the Public Bill Committee. Lords’ amendments supported by the Law Society were agreed to, and the Bill now awaits Royal Assent.


The Law Society briefed parliamentarians on our concerns around the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill. A number of amendments we had proposed were tabled, and the Law Society was mentioned eight times during day three of Committee Stage.


The Law Society submitted evidence to the House of Commons International Trade Committee’s inquiry on trade in services – we will publish the evidence on the Law Society website once it has been published by the Committee.


The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, for which the Law Society runs the secretariat, was reconstituted for a further year after a successful AGM in Parliament.



On Friday 25 January, the deputy vice president spoke at a Lancashire and Cumbria Regional Forum event and Lancaster Law Society dinner.  


Our influencing work internationally:

On Monday 21 January, the Brussels office held a breakfast task group on the legal issues around having a presence in Belgium. This was chaired by Helena Raulus, head of the Brussels office, and was attended by Brussels-based UK offices and organisations.


On Wednesday 23 January, Helena attended a dinner debate hosted by the European Parliament on European manufacturing and Brexit preparedness, as well as the priorities of the European Parliament and manufacturing industry in the future relationship between Britain and the EU. The event was chaired by Danuta Hübner MEP.


Thursday 24 January was Day of the Endangered Lawyer 2019, jointly organised by the Law Society and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute. It focused on the circumstances faced by lawyers in Turkey (before and after the failed coup), the enactment of emergency decree laws, the lack of admissibility of Turkish cases before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), the specifics of litigating Turkish cases before the ECtHR, trial observation in Turkey, and advocacy efforts. Speakers included deputy vice president, David Greene.


On Thursday, I met with innovators and interested parties in Auckland to discuss lawtech trends in New Zealand and provide an update on lawtech in England and Wales. Later that afternoon, the president of the New Zealand Law Society, Kathryn Beck, and I facilitated our first women in law roundtable in Auckland. That evening, I spoke to a group of young professionals about lawtech and developments and opportunities for the industry. The event was held at DLA Piper’s Auckland branch and co-sponsored by the British New Zealand Business Association (BNZBA).


On Friday 25 January, Catherine Brims and I met with Paul Wilkinson, head of investment for New Zealand with the department for international trade at the British consulate general in Auckland. The same day, I spoke at a lunch event with legal counsel and members in New Zealand, arranged by the BNZBA.


Supporting members at every stage of their career

We've now published ‘Your professional body – the value of your membership’ aligned to the member offer. It clearly shows how we influence for impact and promote the profession. It also showcases the services we offer to support practice excellence, keep members up to date and act as a career companion. All new members will receive a copy in the post. A simple summary of our member offer is also available.

LGBT History Month – Speed networking, Cardiff

To mark the start of LGBT History Month, our LGBT+ Lawyers Division is hosting a speed networking event. As well as receiving tips on networking, there will be the opportunity to put these into practice in both formal and informal sessions.


JLD Forum: helping you to secure a training position – 9 February 2019 – Liverpool

This free event will help LPC students and LPC graduates in their search for a training position and give them an opportunity to discuss the issues they face.


Supporting practice excellence

We are widely promoting our no deal Brexit guidance on data protection, family law, civil and commercial and providing legal services in the EU. Next week it will feature in a double page spread in Monday’s Gazette and is being regularly tweeted to our relevant Twitter feeds. It is worth celebrating that our primary Law Society twitter feed now has over 100,000 followers for the first time.






Some of our upcoming events are:

Brexit: implications for in-house lawyers – an update, Manchester - Tuesday 12 February 2019

With only a few months to go until the UK leaves the EU, we consider the more pressing issues that Brexit brings for in-house lawyers.


Law Management Section people in practice conference 2019: retain talent and lead into success

We are delighted to announce that registration is now open for the 2019 Law Management Section people in practice conference on Wednesday 6 March 2019 at the Law Society in London.



Kind regards,





Christina Blacklaws


The Law Society, 113 Chancery Lane, London. WC2A 1PL