The Law Society is now producing minutes of its regular meetings. These notes come from the meeting in October.
Looking to the future: a discussion roundtable
Changes to the legal landscape are affecting many Law Society members. We need to be clear about what support our members want and need from their representative body, to underpin the strategic direction set by Council. This month’s Council meeting opened with a roundtable discussion addressing key issue, with a vigorous debate generating many ideas and insights, which will inform the Society’s business plans for 2013 and beyond. Council’s review was informed by considerable research and analysis undertaken recently by the Society’s staff. The Society will shortly publish to its members the results of that review to stimulate further debate amongst the profession. Some of the key themes emerging from Council’s discussion were:
- What is the future direction of the Law Society? Should it remain restricted to representing solicitors only, or take on a wider representative role for legal professionals?
- Solicitors have a good reputation for probity, ethics and high standards of advice and service. How do we use this to strengthen the solicitor ‘brand’ with the public?
- Using the international standing of the Law Society and the solicitors’ profession in England and Wales to create overseas business opportunities and promote our legal system as a ‘jurisdiction of choice.’
- Strengthening engagement between the Law Society and our members, and how the Society could reach out to special interest groups and practice areas.
- Should the Law Society develop additional new commercial products for our members?
Law Society Council will discuss and develop these ideas at future meetings. To contribute, or to find out more, contact your local Council representative – we welcome your insight and feedback.
Practising Certificate renewals 2012
Practising Certificate (PC) renewals will run from 1 November until 14 December this year. The decision to delay the start date was taken to allow the SRA more time to complete the vital changes and improvements to the system released last year. Council was advised that the new software that will enable organisations to carry out bulk renewals for all solicitors in their firms is being thoroughly tested. All indications suggest that the system will be ready for the start of the renewals process. Firms should start now to prepare for the renewals process and should follow the further information and briefings that the SRA will shortly commence. While we aim to keep making improvements, this year’s system will be quicker and easier to use than last year’s.
Equality and Diversity update
The Law Society’s Equality and Diversity Framework 2012-2015 will include a flexible working protocol, with advice and guidance for firms on best practice. There has been an increase in firms signing up to the Diversity and Inclusion Charter, and we have engaged with the Milburn review on social mobility. Council agreed that future priority will be a focus on equality and diversity in the legal workforce, and the Law Society’s volunteer community and staff.
Law Society news and updates
- The Law Society is investing in Riliance, the market leading compliance product for COLPs and COFAs. This will help us to support members’ needs and respond quickly to any future regulatory changes. Find out more about Riliance at www.riliance.co.uk
- The Regulatory Affairs Board is working with the Wills and Equity Committee on a response to the Legal Services Board’s proposals on the regulation of will writing. We want to ensure that the SRA’s role in implementing the LSB proposals supports the high quality service provided by solicitors.
- A Law Society response to the Legal Education and Training Review is underway. Our guiding principle is that the standards required to become a solicitor must be maintained. Any proposed alternative qualification routes must be measured against that principle.
- The Law Society is aware and shares member concerns about the recent announcements by the LSC concerning duty solicitor arrangements. The suggestion that duty solicitors must be employed rather than work as consultants is a serious issue and the Society is in urgent talks with the LSC on this issue and will issue further guidance shortly.
Ask a Solicitor Law Society campaign
The Law Society launched a new solicitor promotion campaign, Ask a Solicitor, at the beginning of October. Council were reminded that members can download and order free promotional material based on the campaign for local area marketing. This information is available from the Law Society website at www.lawsociety.org.uk/promote