City law society opens door to foreign lawyers

Foreign lawyers working in the City are to be allowed to become members of the City of London law society.

The number of US and European lawyers working in the City is now so great the move could boost the society's membership by a third to more than 3,500.

It will also give the society additional weight within the Law Society of England and Wales, which currently restricts membership to those it registers as foreign lawyers.

City of London Law Society chairman Tony Sacker, a partner at Kingsley Napley, said the move was “to recognise the realities of legal life in the City and provide a proper organisation where all who practice here can put something in and get something out”.

The society is expecting a large take-up of members by US and European lawyers after foreign firms in the City responded positively to its initial inquiries.

Details on how the idea will work will be finalised this autumn. However, membership will be open to any foreign lawyer practising in the City whether or not they are registered as foreign lawyers.