Law Society international chief quits for CCBE European post

Jonathan Goldsmith, director of the Law Society’s International Directorate, will stand down on 1 January 2002 to become secretary-general of the Council of the Bars and Law Societies of the European Union (CCBE).

The CCBE’s role is to develop the integration of European lawyers at EU level.
Goldsmith said: “Everyone agrees that my current job is a plum job. But when the CCBE vacancy came, it struck me that it is a very sensible career move as I would be moving from national to the EU bars.” He was international director at the Law Society for six years.
Goldsmith says he is particularly proud of his involvement in international project work, for which the department has received large contracts from the European Union. One contract is due to be signed for the payment of j800,000 (£495,848) to the Law Society for legal aid projects in Uganda. Goldsmith also pointed to the h400,000 (£247,924) provided for training in Nigeria.
His other major achievement is that the Law Society is the only bar in the world to have drawn up a list of demands and requests for the next round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations.
Goldsmith said that there is still “serious resistance” by India to the opening up of its doors to foreign lawyers. But he added: “Optimism has really grown and today it is a question of not if, but when.” India was the first country Goldsmith visited after taking up his post as director.

“My current job is a plum job. But when the CCBE vacancy came, it struck me that it is a very sensible career move”
Jonathan Goldsmith, the Law Society

He said that there is also some anxiety about China opening up to foreign lawyers, and highlighted that the US has made it a priority country for placing pressure.
Initial guidelines for the harmonising of corporate social responsibility of law firms abroard were issued during Goldsmith’s directorship. “These guidelines were very mild and tender and were the first bite of the cherry,” he said.
Goldsmith became international director at the very late stages of the preparations for the Establishment Directive 1998 reaching the statute books.
He said: “It was a process that had been going on for 20 years, and I was involved in guiding it safely into the docks. Today I’m surprised at how few registrations [of foreign lawyers in the UK] there have been. There have only been 150 registrations in the most recent round in the UK for instance.”
Administration has developed in Goldsmith’s six years at the Law Society, with the department growing from 11 to 19. Two of those members are funded by the EU doing project work, and one works in the Law Society’s Brussels office serving the Law Societies of England and Wales.