The patient is alive, off life support and back on the operating table. The president (Comment, 16 January) is to be congratulated for breathing life back into the process of reforming the governance of the Law Society after the resignation of the chief executive.
It seems that the recent hiatus has convinced some of the headshakers on Council to give a nod to the idea of modernisation after all.
There is more good news. There is a silver lining to the gloom around Chancery Lane because we have been given the chance to design a governance structure fit to run the Society not as it is now but as it is likely to become in the next few years.
We have the opportunity to get ahead of the game by fashioning an organisation that looks forward to the time when the SRA has taken 100% control of regulation and we are a representative-only body seeking members willing to pay for services, such as education and training, and business advice.
The Society needs to change into a dynamic commercial business offering robust and relevant representation, combined with valuable services to members happy to pay for them. This is the future. But it is no nip-and-tuck operation – it requires a bunch of largely stubborn, middle-aged men to accept fundamental change and to cede control to the next generation.
The time for empty talk is over. The lawyers I talk to want to see action. Indeed, if the Society’s constitution allowed it, they would like to see the president given delegated authority to impose a solution on Council, such is the regard for the president and the desire to free him of the thankless task of having to herd cats. A bit of benign dictatorship may still be the best answer.
Success does not come to you; you go to it. The Society is back on track and moving forward again. But it cannot afford any more slip-ups.
Christopher Digby-Bell, Law Society Council member, London W1