President’s Blog- October/November 2019
So we come to an end of an era and sadly this will be my final Presidential blog! I have had a fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable year. A massive thank you to all of you who have supported BLS over the past 12 months and contributed to our many successes.
The eagle eyed amongst you will note that I missed my blog for September! I blame a combination of work, life, Brexit and the weather. But I have been keeping busy. Here are a few headlines:
- BPN Launch Event- 13.08.19
- Met with HHJ Cotter- 14.08.19
- Summer Party- 05.09.19
- SRA Dinner- 09.09.19
- Meet up #2- 24.09.19
- Opening of Legal Year- 01.10.19
- Simmons & Simmons Black History Month event- 03.10.19
- Plymouth Annual Dinner- 04.10.19
- Bristol Legal Service- 09.10.19
- Agile Firm- 09.10.19
- Women in Law- 14.10.19
- Managing Partners Briefing- 15.10.19
- Annual Awards Dinner- 24.10.19
- One City- Deep Dive- 01.11.19
- Tech Festival- 04.11.19
As this will be my last blog, I shall also flag the last few events on the horizon:
- Law Centres Network Dinner- 07.11.19
- Bristol Distinguished Address Series- 13.11.19
- NQ Event- 14.11.19
- AGM- 19.11.19
The BPN Launch event was well attended. I spoke, along with Peaches Golding, Marvin Rees, Councillor Asher Craig, Mohammed Siddiq (MD Wessex Water) and Marti Burgess (Bevan Brittan). There was a good representation from a variety of professions. The emphasis was on the power of networking.
Ben Holt (Senior Vice President) and I had a very constructive meeting with HHJ Barry Cotter QC. This came off the back of conversations that we had at a Council meeting and ideas we had for improving efficiencies. The Courts are keen to identify any areas for improvement. They want Bristol to be more flexible, approachable and consistent. We discussed better routes for communications and some ideas for improving efficiency.
The summer party was well attended as always and appeared to be enjoyed by most.
The SRA dinner was well attended by various legal groups in the City. I was briefed to do an intro and suggest some topics for discussion over dinner. There were two other guest speakers who each spoke for a few minutes. This was a great opportunity to engage directly with the SRA and raise any issues which are a cause for concern. Naturally the SQE, Brexit, Tech, Diversity and Access to Justice dominated the discussions.
The BBLT second meet up was another sell-out. This time the delegates were heavily weighted in favour of the Techies. Many of the tech specialists gave a short pitch on who they are and what they do. Feedback was very positive and we had to pretty much kick people out as they were enjoying networking afterwards so much. This fed in nicely to the Agile Firm event where I was a last minute addition to a panel session discussing evolution and culture. This was another opportunity to promote BLS and BBLT.
The Opening of the Legal Year was fantastic and I would highly recommend to anyone. I was surprised at how many representatives from around the world came to London for this event. It is an impressive event and very well attended. Of course our Legal Service in Bristol was equally as grand and well attended. The High Sheriff, Charles Wyld, was very complimentary of all that the legal profession does in and for the community. I believe 22 law firms sponsored which is fantastic.
It was fascinating to hear Michael Fuller’s story of how he became the first (and still the only) black chief constable and the challenges he faced from every angle. He spoke at the launch of Simmons & Simmons EMerge event which also coincided with Black History Month.
This year also marks the celebration of 100 years of Women in Law. BLS celebrated this event with the Women in Law event which included a very distinguished panel of Judges, Barristers and Managing Partners.
I hope you will agree that the Annual Awards Dinner was another great success. This is by far the most well attended and enjoyable event of the year. It is truly inspiring to hear the submissions of all those who were nominated for awards. The room was full, the entertainment was great, the food was fantastic, the atmosphere was buzzing and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Congratulations once again to all of the winners and those who were shortlisted, and a huge thank you to all our sponsors, UWE, Lloyds, Milsted Langdon, Marsh JLT, Hays, Wessex Searches, Anexsys, Amdaris, Warner McCall Resilience, Nine Feet Tall, Weston College, Insight Legal Software, Conscious, Annecto Legal, Guildhall Chambers and Albion Chambers
Thank you to those who attended our Managing Partners Briefing on 15 October. This was a great opportunity to further discuss our Showcasing event which is being organised for next year and also to gather some feedback on Bristol City Council’s One City Plan. With the newly formed Economic Board, we had a deep dive into the economic strategy and the feedback from our members was incredibly valuable.
BBLT (inc BLS) were delighted to be involved in the Bristol Tech Festival. We organised an event which was hosted by Burges Salmon. It certainly felt like we had a break through at the co-create sessions which focused on skills, innovation, events and ethics/purpose. I helped facilitate the session around ethics/purpose which was naturally focused around access to justice and inclusion. These sessions will help shape the basis of our BBLT strategy for the next couple of years.
For more information about our events please visit our website and ensure that your colleagues are subscribed to our mailing list.
It has been a pleasure and an honour. Over and out.
5 November 2019