If the US presidential election is showing us anything, it is the challenge of finding candidates for president who are fit to serve. As it is, the American electorate is being offered the opportunity to choose a leader from the lesser of two evils between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The Law Society’s current governance review is charged with the task of finding ways to persuade members to re-engage with the Society – to encourage a closer relationship between the Society and its members, so that if and when the Society becomes exclusively a representative-only organisation with voluntary membership, it will be sufficiently popular that it can survive the change.
This is sensible planning but there is a mountain to climb. Take, for example, the most recent council membership elections as an indication of member engagement. Of the 16 council seats up for grabs, only four were contested and no one could be found to apply for four vacant seats. It makes one wonder how representative the council actually is.
So how does the Society engage more closely with its membership? Surely it is time for it to put its trust and confidence back into its membership and to bring back the right for members to vote for its president, instead of leaving the decision for its 100-member ruling council to act as an electoral college. The right to hold a ballot of the profession for president was taken away from the membership in 2000.
Rather than choose the best of 100 solicitors, the profession would elect the best of its 160,000 members. Let us not go down the Clinton/Trump road – give us the chance to vote for the ‘best of the best’.
Christopher Digby-Bell, London W1