Stapely to follow Lockley out of Law Society's door

SUE Stapely, head of the Law Society's press and parliamentary unit, has stepped down from her post and will leave Chancery Lane in June.

News of her departure follows soon after the resignation announcement of the society's director of corporate and regional affairs, Andrew Lockley, who revealed last month that he would be taking up jobs at Irwin Mitchell and the University of Sheffield.

She will join leading public relations company Fishburn Hedges as a director-designate.

Stapely joined the Law Society in 1989 to head its media relations operation. A former BBC employee who later qualified as a solicitor, she runs regular training courses for lawyers on handling the media and published a book on the subject in 1994. She was the first national chair of the 300 Group, which aimed to encourage more women into politics.

She pioneered the Law Society's successful Make a Will Week annual event, which started in 1992, and organised the Save Legal Aid campaign in response to the Lord Chancellor's cuts to legal aid eligibility levels.

Relations between Stapely and the society's president Martin Mears are known to be strained, however. She was most visibly at odds with him earlier this year over a leaked memo about a press article criticising his stance on divorce.

John Hayes, the society's secretary general who is also due to leave, said Stapely's “energy and wisdom” had been of great benefit to the society.