The Council of the Law Society has passed a comprehensive series of measures in a bid to ensure the society is more responsive to members.
The measures, which come at a time of acknowledged grassroots unrest, are part of a bid to make the society more accountable. In the words of council member David Thomas, the society must "build bridges" with solicitors throughout the UK.
At a meeting last Thursday the council passed what will be seen by some as controversial proposals, including:
moves towards a structural society based on sections, a model already adopted in the US and parts of Australia;
all solicitors to be automatically considered for membership of the Law Society;
replacing the existing strategy committee with a policy committee, chaired by the president and effective from 1 September 1996;
a review of the position of office holders and their election, including progression of the presidency;
introducing measures designed to make office holder elections run more smoothly and democratically, including involving the Electoral Reform Society in the electoral process;
a review of the selection of non-constituency members of the council, including the level of support for a representative member for women.