Local heroes

  • 25/06/2019
Over 30 local law societies have disappeared in the last 25 years. Those that remain must innovate to stay relevant amid the decline in volunteerism, reports Marialuisa Taddia

There are over 90 local law societies in England and Wales, many of which have a long and venerable history. Some (Bristol, Kent and Birmingham) pre-date the national Law Society, which was founded in 1825. Yet there are fewer today than in the recent past – a quarter of a century ago they numbered 127. To remain relevant, they have shed their image of a ‘gentlemen’s club’ that meets from time to time for an agreeable dinner. To attract members and sponsors, local law societies must offer more than a forum for socialising; they need to be commercially focused and, as Bristol Law Society’s president Nicholas Lee puts it, ‘deliver a range of services for the community they serve. Those that have embraced that concept appear to have thrived.’