Pannone attacks Mears as leadership squabbles drag on

Society president Martin Mears will cause “very great harm” to the profession, ex-president Rodger Pannone has claimed.

Pannone launched a sustained attack on Mears at a press conference last week, clearly timed to inflict maximum damage to the president.

Announcing his own retirement from Law Society politics, Pannone said he had not enjoyed his last year as a council member and claimed the Law Society's activities were viewed by outsiders as “a humourless farce”.

Pannone, dismissed by Mears as “a defeated and embittered political opponent,” said the president's “unedifying” political regime had damaged the Law Society's standing amongst the Government, political parties, the judiciary, the Bar and the international and commercial legal communities.

He acknowledged Mears' “intelligence and charm” but said he noticed “disturbing traits”. “Having discussed matters with him, listened to him and watched him perform,” he said, “I was convinced of his unsuitability to lead our profession.”

Mears retorted: “I can't tell you how mischievous Mr Pannone's allegations are. Of course Pannone is angry – he is a defeated and embittered political opponent.”

Among the council members Pannone would like to stand against Mears are Tony Girling, the current deputy vice-president, Phillip Sycamore, of Lonsdales in Blackpool, and Clifford Chance's Michael Matthews.

He said he regretted that it was unlikely that a woman would stand.