As I prepare to chair the final committee meeting of the year, I cannot quite believe how fast the year has gone by. It has been an eventful year.
Over the course of the last twelve months, a lot has been achieved. At the start of the year, we held a very successful annual dinner at Chichester Cathedral, where the guest speakers were Andrew Tyrie, our local MP and the retiring Circuit Judge, Judge Robin Barratt QC. We were very pleased also to raise the fantastic sum of £1805 on the night in aid of Chestnut Tree House, the children’s hospice for West Sussex. This was the first time in recent times that we have run the annual dinner in aid of a local charity and it was very pleasing to see so many members supporting this wonderful cause.
It has been very pleasing over the last twelve months to see so many more members getting involved in the society. We have welcomed several new committee members and this year has also marked the start of two sub-committees within the society, a conveyancing sub-committee and a private client sub-committee. The latter committee will have its first meeting on 21st November 2012. I should like to thank my Vice-President, Dominic Ryan and Janette Luker for starting up the conveyancing sub-committee and Stephen Sampson for taking the initiative in relation to the private client sub-committee. One of my goals this year was to establish sub-committees in relevant subject areas, so as to provide a forum for members to engage with one another in important issues facing their area of the profession.
During the year, we have continued to run professional training events for our members and I should like to thank Julian Bobak for his continuing hard work in setting up these events. Latterly, we have started to run events with the Worthing Law Society on top of our existing programme with Central Law Training.
We have, during the year, also continued to organise events for our members of a social nature. In the summer, there was a squash match between a team of Chichester and District Law Society Lawyers and a team of doctors from St Richard’s hospital. The society came out on top. We also had a summer social event at Number 12 Bar in Chichester, which was very well attended.
Within the wider profession, it has been a year of great change. We have seen the introduction of alternative business structures, enabling ownership of law firms for the first time by non-solicitors. To reflect these changing times, we have now put forward proposals for opening the membership of the society to non-solicitor managers within firms. This motion will come before a Special General Meeting on 30th November 2012, shortly before our annual dinner.
I have greatly enjoyed my year as President and it has been a privilege to serve the society in this capacity. I would like to thank all the committee for their very hard work in what has been a very busy and enjoyable year and to wish my Vice President, Dominic Ryan all the very best as he prepares to take over from me on 30th November.