Mears goes on City fact-finding mission

CITY lawyers may be relieved to know that while new Law Society president Martin Mears claims he doesn't know much about the City, he is willing to learn.

He will also consult leading City legal figures on the Law Society Council in order to understand better the concerns of the City constituencies.

“I am conscious that many people in the City find the Law Society an irrelevancy and we need to be more attuned to the City's concerns,” he said.

Mears' comments appear in the latest issue of City Solicitor, the newsletter of the City of London Solicitors Company, in an article by its editor and Macfarlanes partner David Wyld.

While supporting the City's inclination to “least possible regulation”, Mears condemned as a “terrible thing” a current argument that the City of London Law Society should set up as a separate body under the Courts and Legal Services Act. “It would be viewed as the fat cats turning their backs on the thin cats. It would also mean in fact and theory there would be a divided profession.”

He went on to say: “I readily admit that I know little about the City. What I intend to do is to seek advice of my (City) council colleagues, Mark Sheldon, for example, has been very supportive.”

The magazine's editorial states: “There must be some concern whether his lack of knowledge matters to City solicitors. Clearly there are many issues which concern the City: the indemnity fund, the cost of practising certificates, the stiff competition that they face from accountants and foreign lawyers, and the fear of over-regulation. Will the new president be devoting enough of his energies to dealing with this?”