Law Soc says no to newly-qualifieds

Newly-qualified solicitors have again been denied a seat on the Law Society council after council members ignored the recommendation of its own committee.

The Council Membership Committee's call for one of the two local government seats to be scrapped in favour of a newly qualified lawyer was narrowly defeated by two votes.

After the chairman of the Local Government Group Philip Thomson pleaded that local government and employed lawyers are already under-represented, the former chairman of the group Peter Unwin pushed through an amendment which will give newly-qualified lawyers a voice on the council, but no vote.

In defending her committee's recommendation, chairman Margaret Anstey commented: “The Local Government Group already has one member who can represent their interests, young solicitors have nobody.

“Why should they be regarded as second class citizens and be allowed only to observe?” said Anstey.

Susannah Haan, Clifford Chance trainee and chair of the Trainee Solicitors Group, was vociferous in her call for a newly-qualified lawyer seat, telling members of the council to “make a decision or go home”.

She added that it was not necessarily a question of youth: “It's the experience of the LPC and training contracts which you lot do not have that's important.”

She tells The Lawyer that she is “definitely disappointed” and adds: “Now we have got two observer seats which we don't want.”