Law Society exodus grows

YET another senior Law Society official is leaving

Walter Merricks, the society's director of professional and legal policy, bows out at the end of August to take up the post of Insurance Ombudsman.

Merricks is the fifth senior Law Society bureaucrat to leave since Martin Mears' election as president last summer.

His decision comes after 11 years at Chancery Lane and he describes his time there “as stimulating and rewarding.”

Merricks is likely to be best remembered for his role as mastermind of the Law Society's application for higher court rights of audience to be extended to solicitors, a role which helped win him a high profile at Westminster.

He commanded respect among his staff, but, like several of his colleagues, became embroiled in the in-fighting which has continued at Chancery Lane during the year.

Commenting on his departure, secretary general John Hayes, who is leaving the society at the end of this month, said: “He has been a calm and credible spokesperson for the society and the profession in times of great change for both. He will be greatly missed.”

Last week also saw the announcement that Veronica Lowe, former director of the Solicitors Complaints Bureau, has been appointed chief executive of the Inland Revenue's Valuation Office Agency.

The agency is responsible for rating and council tax valuation and provides valuation services to the Inland Revenue, mainly in connection with Inheritance Tax and Capital Gains Tax.