BLA is alive and kicking

Andrew Lockley expresses the hope that the Solicitors Association will "fare better than its predecessor, the British Legal Association" (The Lawyer, 28 May). That might suggest to those who do not know, that the BLA is defunct, but this is far from the truth. Under its recently elected chair, Alex Alagappa, it is now firing on all cylinders.

Far from the Solicitors Association taking over from the BLA, the two are working closely together. Indeed, Anthony Bogan and John Edge have been co-opted on to BLA's executive committee and Alex Alagappa was invited to become chair of the Solicitors Association as well as holding office in the BLA.

Sensibly, he concluded that for a practising solicitor, one chairmanship was enough.

Mr Lockley, until recently a senior member of the Law Society's staff, says that "when the council (of the Law Society) makes professional rules, it cannot put solicitors' interests first". It has never been the BLA's approach that it should do so. When, for six years, I was chair of the BLA, it was always my contention that the true interests of client and solicitor coincided.

It was the failure of the Law Society, now and then, to recognise this that led, and will continue to lead, solicitors to oppose the Law Society, and others to seek a division of functions as the Solicitors Association now does.

Stanley Best

Guildhall Chambers

Portsmouth.