In May 2012, I attended the national gathering of Local Law Societies Presidents and Secretaries at Chancery Lane in London, together with Sara Fildes, our honorary secretary. Both of us very much enjoyed the conference, which gave some useful ideas in terms of development of the Chichester and District Law Society.
It became clear to us from talking to other Presidents and Secretaries that many Local Law Societies are looking at the present time at the issue of expanding their membership to other lawyers. Many other societies have recently changed their constitution so as to open up membership to non-solicitors, particularly to managers of firms. Given the recent introduction of alternative business structures, it was felt by most of those attending the conference that opening up membership of Local Law Societies to non-solicitors was a good idea.
At a local level, many of our firms now have non-solicitor partners and directors. At our committee meeting on 23rd May, I reported back to the committee in relation to the Presidents’ and Secretaries’ conference. The consensus amongst the committee was that it would be a good idea to investigate looking into the possibility of opening up our membership, in the same way as many other societies. It was agreed that our honorary secretary would liaise with secretaries from other local societies to see what they were doing in this regard and that we would revisit this issue later in the year.