Fiona Callister, deputy editor

While Chancery Lane has never exactly been quiet in the gossip department (remember the “dog turd” spat a couple of years ago?), since the arrival of Janet Paraskeva, the Law Society's newish chief executive, there has been a deafening sound of noses being put out of joint.
Some of this is inevitable as the sleepy hollow needed to sort out its act. But recently, timing has been ghastly. A couple of days after former vice president Kamlesh Bahl won her discrimination tribunal, the Equal Opportunities Committee decided to cease meeting, blaming a lack of funding. The Law Society countered that it was bringing equal opportunities on to the board, and so into the heart of every decision. As part of that move, Marcia Williams, secretary to the Equal Opportunities Committee, was moved to the Human Resources department.
And so the emphasis changed. From having a perhaps rather academic talking shop full of equal opps professionals, Williams' move meant that the Law Society, namely Paraskeva, viewed the subject as being more of an internal matter. This is perhaps not surprising, given that the most grief caused to the Law Society has come from internal matters, but it is a mistake to consider that discrimination within the legal profession happens only within Chancery Lane.
But last Friday (27 July), Williams held her leaving drinks party after being informed that her post no longer was needed.
All the above decisions, not to directly fund the Equal Opportunities Committee and to move Williams and then to get rid of her new post, were made without a vote of the council. In one way, this is encouraging as the Law Society is finally waking up to the way that everyone else handles matters. Paraskeva has said that she is not prepared to run the organisation at a deficit and has made it perfectly clear that she is not going to shilly-shally about pandering to egos.
Hopefully, under her leadership, the Law Society will start to appeal to the City. It will shed its woolly coat and emerge a lean fighting machine ready to fight battles to preserve the lawyer's turf against the onslaught of multi-disciplinary practices. But Paraskeva also needs to recognise that internal morale and timing are crucial to the running of a business.