Mears is not representative of the profession

“The public shouldn't get the idea that an odd fish called Martin Mears is in any way representative of the profession.”

A summer away from Law Society politics appears to have had an invigorating effect on Henry Hodge.

After the self-imposed purdah out of the political limelight since his defeat at the polls he has broken cover in a dramatic fashion.

“Martin Mears has his own political agenda – he wants to be a famous right-wing commentator,” he said.

In an interview with The Lawyer, Hodge said that he found some of Mears' views “offensive”.

He also revealed he was prepared to stand again for the presidency and spoke of a caucus of Law Society members who would oppose the new president.

He also attacked the smaller, monopolistic, high street lawyer “who believes the world owes him a living”.

“There are too many people like that in the profession but they are the past,” he said. “The future lies with able effective entrepreneurial solicitors serving their clients efficiently at a price they can afford.”

Hodge insists he is quite used to the rough and tumble of political life and is not bitter over his defeat. He is, however, clearly prepared to use his political experience to take the fight to Mears.

His mission is to ensure the new president's tenure at the top is as short as possible – he believes somebody should stand against him in the elections next year and is prepared to do so himself.

But the experience of the last elections leads him to believe a conservative “middle of the road” candidate would have a far better chance of ousting Mears.

Unlike some he doesn't carp about the low turnout for the poll which saw Mears elected. He accepted that it proved many lawyers could not care less about Chancery Lane but said he stayed to fight his corner because of the importance of the Law Society's role.

“The Law Society matters because the legal profession 'oils the wheels' of society.”

Reflecting on his election defeat he acknowledged any opponent of Mears would have a fight on their hands.

He believed there had been a liberal consensus at the Law Society based on the view that policies should be good for the profession and the public.

The election showed the profession was more conservative than that.

“We got it wrong, we pitched our policies in a way which didn't carry the profession with us,” Hodge said.

Alongside his defiance, however, is a measure of frustration.

“I would already be into a complete review of the financial systems of the Law Society, confident I could put into place a significant reduction of costs.

“I would also have started a constitutional review of the Law Society,” he said.