Your coverage of the Law Society's January omnibus survey interpreted the results in a very negative light.
For example, contrary to your editorial comment, there was a remarkable consensus among respondents that the main purposes of the society are to set and maintain standards and regulate solicitors, and to represent the profession. The survey indicated high levels of support for separate sections for members with special interests – the society's probate section is being launched next month.
The survey showed that 39 per cent of solicitors in private practice participate in their local law society. I regard this as an encouraging level of participation. We must recognise that, like any other profession, not all members want to be active in their local or national professional networks. The crucial issue is that all solicitors are made more aware of what is available in terms of professional support and services from the society and the work that is done in their name.
Communications issues have moved on a great deal since last January when the survey was conducted. We have strengthened our Communications Directorate and the Council is considering a strategy which focuses on improved communications between the society and solicitors and on stronger promotion of the profession.
Finally, I have no doubt that a 53 per cent recognition rate of the president compares very favourably with other professional bodies. Remember the results when the public was asked by the national press to identify members of the Cabinet!
President, The Law Society