The Law Society's Commerce & Industry group (C&I) plans to abolish its traditional committee system and relaunch itself as a limited company run by an executive.
The move is aimed at giving the C&I group's in-house lawyers greater independence from Law Society control.
C&I chairman Edward Smethurst says: “Our members pay £400-plus for their practising certificates and get very little back for that. Our aim is to give them something back for their money such as regional groups who will cater for their needs.”
The number of C&I members has risen 20 per cent to 7,335 in the last year, says Smethurst.
Smethurst says: “This has been a huge increase in the last 12 months. The Law Society-commissioned study on how the profession is going to look in the next millennium shows that in-house lawyers are going to be the fastest growing sector.”
The new-look governing body will have a chief executive, and directors in charge of training, finance, communications, marketing and the like. All posts will be unpaid.
Smethurst will remain as chairman and a vice-chair, deputy vice chair and vice chair elect – all voluntary and annually electable – will be introduced into the system.
Smethurst adds that the new system will serve to banish the old-fashioned committee style of the past and reflect a higher degree of professionalism. The new system and the appointment of the executive will be discussed at a meeting on 5 November.