This, I believe, will be my last President’s round up – and perhaps because of that it may be my longest. In reality, it’s because so much has happened over the last few weeks and there’s much to mention.
Annual Awards Dinner
We had a fantastic evening on 10th October at the Marriott City Centre Hotel celebrating our Annual Awards. My congratulations to everyone that won an Award. Details and photos of the winners can be found here.
I was delighted that we had so many nominations this year. And, as part of the Judging Panel, I know that we had difficulty with even deciding upon the shortlist. So, for those of you that didn’t win – you should nevertheless be extremely proud to have been shortlisted.
Again, my sincere thanks must be extended to those that helped organise the dinner – it really is a mammoth task. I must therefore mention Melissa Conway, Michael Gupwell, Natalie jones and Ceri Beveridge. Special thanks also to University of the West of England, as our lead sponsors and of course to all our other sponsors.
On the Sunday after the Annual Dinner a number of us attended Bristol Cathedral on behalf of the local profession to mark the beginning of the new Legal Year. Photos here.
For those of you that have never attended before, I do urge you to think about attending next year especially if you enjoy tradition and a bit of pomp. My personal thanks to the High Sherriff of Bristol, Dr Shaheen Chaudhry who organised the event.
Newly Qualified’s Event
For me, this is one of the highlights of the year. We invite all the Newly Qualified solicitors to the Law Library to mark their qualification and to share some bubbly. It is genuinely one of the most enjoyable evenings in the year. This year we were delighted to have over 40 NQ’s join us. They were all welcomed by His Honour Judge Roach, who presented each of our newest members of the profession with our own Certificate of Achievement. Well done to everyone that has recently qualified.
Bristol Law Society’s Annual General Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 26 November, at the Law Library. Further details can be found here.
May I take this opportunity to invite you to consider joining Council? Personally speaking, I have enjoyed tremendously being involved with Bristol Law Society. It has introduced me to many other members from different specialisms, from other firms that ordinarily I would never have come across professionally. I feel honoured to have also contributed to and been involved with the oldest Law Society in the Country.
Transforming Legal Aid
Earlier in the year, the Ministry of Justice announced a consultation about reforming legal aid for Criminal lawyers. The proposals caused outrage and over 16,000 responses were received, including one from us. As a result of the mass response, the Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling announced that some of the initial proposals such as Price Competitive Tendering and removal of ‘client choice’ would be dropped. However, there remains a drive to cut costs and a further consultation was issued which closed on Friday 1 November. Bristol Law Society, together with Ian Kelcey and Michael Fitton QC hosted an event for members in the Law Library to discuss the new consultation and to urge members to respond. Bristol Law Society’s response to this further consultation can be found here.
Member Law Surgery
A reminder that every other month we host in the Law Library our Member’s Law Surgery. Our next surgery is on Thursday 28 November, at 2pm. If you would like to discuss your issue with your Law Society Council Member, Ian Kelcey; your Regional Representative of The Law Society, Matthew Still; and myself then please contact Valerie Squire on 0117 976 3087 to arrange an appointment.
Creative Youth Network
On 16 October, Ben Tarrant, your Vice President and I attended The Station, who were celebrating their first birthday. Creative Youth Network were the recipients of our fund raising last year. It was great to see what progress they have made over the last year. Well done to Sandy and Caroline, and everyone else involved at The Station. http://www.thestationbristol.org.uk
Apart from the great work they do – it’s also a fabulous place for lunch. Do give it a try.
Being a Trustee
On 1 October, we co-hosted an event with ICAEW West of England about being a trustee. Many of us are frequently invited to become a Trustee and join a charity. This event, together with our Accountant brethren, discussed and explored some of the considerations that we should think about before accepting and what can be done to help benefit the charity.
May I congratulate everyone involved with the organisation of this year’s South West Legal Trust’s Legal Walk on Monday 23 September. We were blessed with the weather and honoured to have so many walkers join us, including Nick Fluck.
All of my formal duties are now complete, save for the AGM. Other than that I have been kindly invited by some of our collaborative partners to attend their Annual Dinner. This month alone, I have been invited by Devon & Somerset Law Society (8th); Liverpool Law Society (13th); Birmingham Law Society (21st) and Cornwall Law Society (29th).
Events for 2014 and 2015
I wanted to share with you some thoughts that I have had about two important dates fast approaching. Next year marks the centenary of the start of the Great War. As you would expect there were a number of local solicitors and articled clerks that served in the First World War. In the library, we have a list of those that served. I wanted to invite your ideas on how best to commemorate the event.
In a similar vein, in 2015, we want to celebrate the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta. Many are not aware of the fact that in our Law Library we have a 15th Century copy of the Magna Carta. Would you be interested in attending a special lecture about the Magna Carta which forms the foundations of our legal system?
And finally, may I remind you that your membership will be due for renewal at the end of the month. You should each receive a reminder (unless if you’re employed by one of our Corporate Firm members) – may I ask you to renew your membership promptly and do encourage your colleagues and friends to join, if they’re not already members.