Clifford Chance Mathews' memo urges 'no split' vote

Clifford Chance partner and Law Society deputy vice-president Michael Mathews has sent a memo to all his firm's London lawyers saying he hopes people will vote against splitting the functions of the society.

A copy of the memo, explaining why Mathews thought splitting the society was a bad idea, was leaked to The Lawyer with the anonymous comment, “So much for presenting both sides of the argument to a captive audience.”

On hearing of the memo Anthony Bogan, whose Solicitors Association is sponsoring the call for the society to be split, said: “I'd like to ask Clifford Chance if they are prepared to circulate a memo from me setting out my side. Michael Mathews is a partner in a large firm, he has a responsibility. He should let people decide for themselves, they're big boys.”

Mathews said: “Both sides were set out with the ballot papers. I obviously have a view on one side, it's not my job to tell the other side of the story.” He said he wouldn't object to a Bogan memo being circulated in the firm.

During the Law Society Council elections Bogan criticised Clifford Chance senior partner Keith Clark for issuing a memo telling staff that he was backing Tony Girling.

Lawyers are currently postal voting on a resolution, proposed by Bogan at the Law Society's AGM last July, urging the Council to investigate splitting its trade union function from its regulatory function. Ballot papers have to be in by October 10.