Ex-Law Soc president urges caution on Hayes' successor

A TWO-year presidency stripped of its ceremonial role is the best way forward for the Law Society, according to former president Rodger Pannone.

Pannone has greeted the announcement of secretary general John Hayes' resignation by urging the society not to rush into the appointment of a successor until it has hammered out a reform package.

He spoke of his frustration at the lack of time he had had to help the profession during a period of deep recession in his presidency.

Referring to his relationship with Hayes, he said: “If you have a full diary and are away a great deal of the time someone has got to run the ship.”

He said the presidential term should be for two-years while the bulk of the ceremonial duties attached to the post should be conducted by the immediate past president.

But he rejected president Martin Mears' contention that the successor of Hayes should become the president's “second-in-command”, claiming the secretary general and his staff should remain firmly accountable to the Law Society Council.

Pannone also said it would not be possible to attract the best candidate for the post of secretary general until the uncertainty surrounding the position had been resolved.

“I would not want to rush into making an appointment until some of the more important areas have been defined, particularly the relationship between the president and the secretary general,” he said.

Hayes announced his resignation earlier this month and will leave the Law Society in the spring.