Paraskeva taps into water council work

Law Society chief executive Janet Paraskeva has been appointed as an independent member for the shadow board of the Consumer Council for Water, The Lawyer can reveal.

The appointment was made by Elliot Morley, the Minister for Water, in June. As a member of the board, Paraskeva will be paid £7,000 a year for two days’ work a month, and will hold the position for four years.

Paraskeva did not report the appointment to the Law Society Council, although she did obtain approval from the society’s office holders – the president, vice-president and treasurer – before accepting the post.

One council member told The Lawyer: “I’m not impressed at all. It’s unfortunate that she doesn’t tell her employers and council members what she’s doing.”

According to a press release from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Consumer Council for Water will be established from 1 October 2005 as an “independent consumer champion, holding water companies, regulators and government to account”.

The news comes just months after it emerged in the Law Society’s annual report that Paraskeva was paid a total of £297,000 in 2004, including a £28,000 bonus and £72,000 in pensions contributions.

A spokesman for the Law Society said: “The chief executive [Paraskeva] and the president are confident that she can undertake this responsibility without affecting her work as chief executive.”