Law Society 'maverick' Christopher Digby-Bell and the former national chair of Wragge & Co's real estate group Gerald Bland are set to battle it out in the election for the Law Society's commercial property seat.
Ballot papers went out to constituents last Friday (18 March), with the election to be finalised on 15 April. Some 21,000 lawyers - just under a quarter of the profession - are entitled to vote, making the election potentially the largest in the society's history.
Stapleton & Son partner Nicholas Peter Fluck is also contesting the seat.
Bland was the national chair of Wragges' real estate group until he resigned last year to launch property boutique GB Law. He joined Wragges from Herbert Smith in 2002 to kick-start the Birmingham firm's London practice, but quit following what insiders described as a year-long power struggle with Wragges property head Adrian Bland.
Digby-Bell, the director of property and financial services firm Palmer Capital Partners, held one of the City seats on the Law Society Council for a controversial two years, until being ousted from the post in 2003. His ongoing push for radical reform of the Law Society prompted then president David McIntosh of Davies Arnold Cooper to label Digby-Bell a "maverick".
At the time of his departure, Digby-Bell told The Lawyer: "I leave as I arrived, with the Law Society stuck in a cul-de-sac of mismanagement."
Last week, Digby-Bell said: "Commercial property is a major part of most firms' businesses. Its lawyers are among the most progressive and dynamic in the profession. Their voice deserves to be heard."