Victorious Mears plans his assault

“SUPPORT the forces of darkness in July”, was one of the new Law Society president's more tongue-in-cheek electoral battle cries.

“The nice chaps have tried and failed. It is time to give the mean men a chance,” Martin Mears wrote in the May edition of the independent magazine he edits, Anglian Lawyer.

Many council members and Law Society staff members will probably agree that Mears is “mean”.

Not least secretary general John Hayes, whose impending departure Mears openly relished in the same edition of the magazine.

“John Hayes has been more than the Law Society's Sir Humphrey. He has been in place for nine years while presidents come and go like summer flies,” he wrote.

Mears is determined not to be a “summer fly”, and in the coming weeks he will mount a carefully planned assault on the Law Society from within.

Expect him, for example, to attempt to take firm editorial control of the Law Society Gazette which he will view as an important propaganda weapon.

Before his election, Mears made no bones about his intention to ditch the traditional mayoral role of the president in order to assume a more hands-on approach.

If his election campaign is anything to go by, he will be a formidable opponent for a gravely weakened Law Society council.

The council has much of the political power but virtually no credibility following its wholehearted support for the defeated Henry Hodge.

It will want to oppose him, but Mears has outmanoeuvred the council with consummate ease up to now.

Hanging over the council's head, if it decides to attempt to block any of Mears' plans, will be the threat of a special general meeting which is packed with Mear's supporters ready to vote through controversial policies.

But Mears is a realist and is unlikely to mind ditching his more radical policies if it means mollifying and even, perhaps, winning over some of the more ambitious council members and officers who might sense the wind blowing in his direction.

During the post-ballot press conference an emollient Mears even went so far as to ask a devastated Hodge to help him with negotiations over legal aid.

It must have been a stomach churning moment for Hodge.

But how can the man Mears himself described “as the nicest solicitor in England” refuse the offer?