In common with many publications, the Gazette marks the first world war’s centenary with a special focus on the testimony and experiences of those who served in it – in our case, solicitors and articled clerks.
Such a rich source of stories provides us with much more than the neutral act of remembrance that we observe on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day. They are worth telling because this was a largely civilian army, and the lawyers in its ranks were, in many cases, good witnesses.
Lawyers were, for example, frequently expected to combine active service with a role in the courts martial – an experience that, by their own account, shaped their views on justice and punishment.
Many carried those views back into practice after the war. It seems appropriate that Chancery Lane’s best-used space, the ‘Reading Room’ – often full, and literally the salon of the profession – is also a memorial space.
As Law Society president Andrew Caplen notes, the war had an impact on our national and international legal architecture – through attempts to govern or prevent conflict, through the rule of law. And, in fact, one account of the war comes from an office holder who was one of Caplen’s forerunners as president.
The next print edition of the Gazette is on 1 September. See our website and app for news and comment over August.