A CAMPAIGN has been launched by the Law Society to win back the hearts and minds of the public by promoting the value of solicitors and attacking the Government's legal aid and divorce reform plans.
"A local service as vital as your GP" is the sub-heading of one of two leaflets tackling legal aid and divorce reform which have been devised by the society's new campaigns and development unit.
Gerald Newman, deputy director of corporate and regional affairs, said the free leaflets would arm solicitors with the facts they needed to rebut the tide of anti-lawyer stories in the national media.
He urged lawyers to use the ideas they contained to influence opinion formers within their local areas, such as other businesses, the local media and MPs, who would soon be deliberating on the Government's divorce reform bill.
"It can make a difference. We know that MPs are concerned about what their constituency members think and we have got to get our message across," he said.
One leaflet complains of the "myth that legal aid was designed for wealthy lawyers". The other stresses that divorce lawyers are "reconcilers - not hired guns" who help families reach negotiated settlements.
Letters have been sent out with solicitors' practising certificates telling them of the availability of the free leaflets.