Napier pledges Law Society City forum

A separate City forum is to be established within the Law Society if presidential candidate Michael Napier is elected.

He and vice-president candidate David McIntosh are in talks with City firms to see how they can best resolve the dissatisfaction felt by those who believe their interests are neglected compared to those of “high street” firms.

Last month, a number of legal heavyweights were said to be considering a plan to split the organisation to give independence to the City of London branch (The Lawyer, 29 May).

Napier says that Freshfields managing partner Ian Terry, Allen & Overy managing partner John Rink and senior partner of Beachcroft Wansbroughs Lord David Hunt are backing his attempt to bring City lawyers closer to the society.

Beachcroft Wansbroughs' Lord Hunt says the proposed City forum would be an “important step forward” and urged everyone to vote in the coming election.

“We are all one profession and we should unite rather than divide,” he says.

“But equally everyone who is a member of the Law Society should be able to identify with the issues it raises. My concern is that we have been too inward-looking in the past.”

One magic circle leader, also a Law Society member, says: “At the moment, it is like trying to represent the corner shop at the same time as House of Fraser.”

He says quarrels over the Solicitors' Indemnity Fund and allegations and counter-allegations of its members earlier this year had been “farcical”.

“The Law Society has been more interested in internal politics than anything else.

“Whether or not one organisation can represent all these disparate interests is another question and I still have my doubts about that.”

Emphasis would also be placed on improving links with specialist groups and a forum within England and Wales would be established.