Jane Betts, expect the unexpected

Newly appointed Law Society secretary gemera; Jane Bettw has certainly got her work cut out for her.

She joins a professional body at a time of unprecedented political imbalance and sustained quarrelling. A time when even paid officers, whose objectivity has always been relied upon, have been drawn into the fray.

Chancery Lane needs a level-headed, firm secretary general to cope with the turmoil of its council.

No council member or Law Society employee could have predicted the storm that would lead to the contested elections of last year.

Since then there has not been a quiet moment and it's not likely to get any quieter for a while.

John Edge's conveyancing odyssey and last week's revelation of the president's strong, three-man ticket for the next election suggests a mounting campaign which is gearing up for action.

We say to the new secretary general: expect the unexpected.

This time last year no one had an inkling that a prospective president was to stand down amid allegations of sexual harassment and that three other contenders would throw their hats into the ring to replace him.

Almost a year has passed and we have already seen one of those contenders call for candidates to oust the man who was elected.

Its probably for the best that Jane Betts is not a lawyer. As a result she will be able to maintain a distance from the emotions on display over politicised subjects, such as entry to the profession, equal opportunities and the cut-price conveyancing battle.

She should approach these and other issues with a clear mind amid the pettiness that seems to surround her.