Yesterday, IP Draughts attended an annual meeting at the Law Society of England and Wales (LSEW), to discuss the LSEW’s strategy for the next 3 years. He attended in his capacity as Council member for Business and Commercial Law. This is a new constituency, with business and commercial law broadly defined and including, for example, IP and tax practice.
He was pleased to see a high-quality set of presentations from LSEW officials and staff, and an increasing recognition of the importance of commercial law to the membership. In particular, he was very pleased to make contact with colleagues who represent other parts of the broadly-commercial constituences:
David Patient (a corporate lawyer, and former managing partner of Travers Smith), representing Major Corporate law firms
Paul Cummins (a regulatory lawyer with the General Pharmaceutical Council) representing In-House Lawyers
Emily O’Neill (an in-house lawyer with litigation funder, Deminor, and a former IP associate at Bird & Bird) representing In-House Lawyers
There are some other Council members who represent geographical constituencies and have a broadly-commercial practice, including certain members from the City of London, the City of Westminster and Central London.
A couple of statistics we should all keep in mind: 43% of LSEW members are based in London; and 25% of LSEW members work in-house.
The commercial side of solicitors’ practice is starting to make its presence felt in the Law Society. But it is fair to say the overall tone of yesterday’s Council was still weighted towards what, for want of a better phrase, IP Draughts would call High Street practitioners. This imbalance was almost certainly greater before the recent changes to constituencies.
So, we are making steps in the right direction. The more we speak up at Council meetings, the more the Council members and the officers and staff will take on board the very different interests of broadly-commercial solicitors in decision-making.
Council members have been encouraged to start creating contact lists of their constituents who are willing to be contacted. If you would like to be on that list, please let me know. Initially, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will set up a separate email account shortly.