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LAW Society president Martin Mears has stolen a march on his Law Society rivals with the announcement of a united three-man ticket for the next elections.
David Keating, a council member of eight years standing, has announced he will stand for the post of deputy vice-president in the summer elections alongside Mears and Law Society vice-president Robert Sayer. The three will make a formidable team.
But their opponents on the council are faced with the even more threatening news that Mears' president's reform group is planning a concerted call on sympathisers to challenge opponents on the council whose seats are coming up for re-election this year.
Among the council members whose seats could be under threat are former president Rodger Pannone and treasurer Mike Howells.
The seat held by Robert Winstanley, chair of the courts and legal services committee, could also be challenged.
Now Mears has laid down the gauntlet, his opponents on the council must decide whether to stand against him this year.
Deputy vice-president Tony Girling, who is the most likely presidential opponent to Mears at this stage, said it was far too early for an election campaign.
"I've been around the country and the one thing the profession doesn't want is a three-month long election campaign," he said.
Another potential candidate, one of the few on the council to enjoy a national profile approaching that enjoyed by Mears, is Association of Personal Injury Lawyers president Michael Napier.
Napier, who stands down from his Apil post next month, refused to comment on his plans.
Eileen Pembridge, who has ruled herself out of the race, said it was vital that somebody opposed Mears.