Dear members,

 

Having acted as Vice-President of Chichester Law Society since 2019, I was delighted to be elected as President at our AGM in the Summer of 2022, taking it on following John Bunker’s extended period in the role. My thanks go to John for his tremendous efforts during a very challenging period during the lockdowns as he made a huge success of his time by continuing with our remit to support our members with continued training sessions, and by hosting two very successful events: the 2021 annual dinner which was one of the first in-person events many of us had attended in years, and also the Goodwood charity event that promoted Sussex Community Foundation and the great work they do.

 

For those of you who do not know me, I am a Private Client Solicitor and Senior Associate at Irwin Mitchell. Other than being part of the Chichester Law Society committee, I am also a fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly, an Affiliate member of STEP (due to complete my final exams in May 2023), a member of Worthing Law Society, and a Trustee (and Secretary) of a local care home. I sing with The Chichester Singers and have a concert coming up at the Cathedral next week to coincide with Remembrance Sunday.

 

During my presidency, my main focus will be on representing members. I am looking to increase membership and to be their voice for matters of concern as we are the link to Chancery Lane and ‘powers that be’. We are looking to broaden our training sessions so that more members can benefit. We are also committed to sharing information about training and opportunities that are accessible to our members, even if we have not organised them ourselves. Our committee for this year is well-manned and we have members representing most practice areas, to include Corporate, Family, Employment, Conveyancing, Commercial Property, Private Client, Contentious Trusts and Probate, and Personal Injury. During our committee meetings, I have introduced a ‘spotlight’ section which allows a committee member a 5 minute slot to talk about a hot topic, or legal issue affecting their area of law. By sharing this at our committee meetings, it enables us to be more aware of the happenings throughout our membership and, if there are things that need to be taken up with Chancery Lane, this is a useful forum to highlight the issues. So far, we have heard from y vice-President, Michelle Lewis, on ‘no fault divorce’ and I have shared a case study about potential issues arising when hosting a Ukranian Family and how we can assist from a legal perspective.

 

In October 2022 we held our quiz night which was a great success with representation from almost all of our member firms. Thanks go out to Committee members, David Jones and Aneta King for organising the event, and to Michelle Lewis for liaising with our charity for the event, St Wilfrid’s Hospice. We are delighted to have raised £515 for them.

 

On 2nd December 2022, we will be having our annual Foundation Dinner at Chichester Cathedral. A lots of work has been put into this (I first visited potential venues back in January!) and we are delighted to have support from local business to help this event come together. I shall produce a write-up of the event in December so no more spoilers here, other than to encourage members to book their tickets!

 

In the meanwhile, the Committee and I are here to serve you so if you have any ideas, concerns, points you wish us to raise with the Law Society or if you wish to become a member of the Committee please contact me or anyone else on the Committee and we will be happy to help.

 

All best wishes,

 

Laura