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President’s Update for April

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BLS President Ben Tarrant rounds up his latest activities and looks forward to forthcoming BLS activities.

The calendar of events at Bristol Law Society is now in full swing and we are about to enter a very busy period which started with the Managing Partners dinner at the end of March and ends with the annual awards dinner in October. Apart from representing the legal sector in Bristol the events are very much core to Bristol Law Society's purpose – bringing people together to discuss ideas and concerns for the mutual benefit of our city.

Managing partners dinner

On Thursday 27th March 2014 Bristol Law Society hosted its Managing Partners dinner at Bakers Hall Brasserie Blanc. We saw a record number of 22 managing partners or heads of chambers attend which together with other guests took the total attendance to just under 40. I am extremely encouraged by the interest in the event from firms of all sizes and specialisms. It is a good measure of the level of engagement in the Bristol legal sector and with Bristol Law Society. Our guest speaker was Des Hudson the Chief Executive of the Law Society who recently announced his retirement from the post. It was a good opportunity for Des to give us an overview of him time at the Law Society and the challenges ahead for the legal sector in the UK. Bristol Law Society wishes Des well in this retirement and we thank him for his efforts and contribution to the profession.

Upcoming events

On Thursday 24th April we are pleased to welcome Julie Ashdown to our HR directors and managers dinner which will be at Radisson Blu from 6pm. Julie is Head of Corporate Responsibility, Equality and Diversity at the Law Society. The main theme of the discussion will be the Law Society's guide "Diversity and inclusion in law firms - the business case" which is designed to help firms improve procedures. Whilst the diversity of the profession is improving every year, there is little diversity at partner level. A key message from the guide is that Law firms that have good diversity and inclusion practices will have a competitive advantage in the long-term over those that do not.

On Friday 25th April there is a Q&A session with Stephen Williams MP in the Law Library from 5pm. This is a great opportunity to speak to one of your local MPs and express your opinions and concerns.  As a profession we must make more of an effort to get our message across to politicians at these types of events as if we don’t  engage and make the most of the opportunity then we can hardly complain about the policies being set.

On Wednesday 7th May we have our very popular annual quiz. I am told that we already have 12 teams signed up so I expect the event to reach capacity quickly so make sure that you book your team asap. This year the event will be held at the Station as we wanted to support the work of Creative Youth Network and give you the opportunity to hear more about its essential wok in Bristol. CRN was our charity of the year a few years ago and we wanted to continue this important relationship in some way.

On Tuesday 13th May the Bristol Junior Lawyers Division and Bristol Law Society's Recruitment and Careers Service are hosting a joint event in the Law Library at 6.30pm - Making the move in-house; a guide for private practice lawyers. The first in a series of informal career events aimed at junior lawyers to help develop, manage and explore their career options.  The number of in-house lawyers has grown exponentially over the last 10 years; a trend that looks set to continue.  This event, led by experienced in-house lawyers, focuses on the move from private practice, opportunities and drawbacks faced by in-house lawyers, and what the future may hold.

Finally may I give you advance notice of current Law Society President Nick Fluck's visit to Bristol on Wednesday 2nd July 2014. Nick has kindly agreed to host a Q&A session in the Law Library between 12.30 and 2pm.

If you would like to attend any of these events please contact Valerie at the Law Library

0117 945 8486

Finally may I wish you all and your families and friends a very happy Easter and I look forward to seeing you at most if not all of the upcoming events.

Yours sincerely

Ben Tarrant