Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon today urged solicitors to reflect on the centenary of the Battle of the Somme – and to take strength from what our forebears overcame. 

She said: 'On 1 July 1916, 19,240 British and Commonwealth servicemen were slaughtered in a single day. Even for those of us who have served in the armed forces, it is hard to understand this reality. The numbers, and the horror they represent, are just too large to comprehend.

'The Roll of Honour from the Law Society Gazette lists the 23 members of our profession who died that single day, brings the tragedy closer to home.

'A solicitor from the firm of Messers Goate and Bullock of Coventry. A 2nd Lieutenant in the Coldstream Guards, admitted to the Bar in 1910, who returned from a legal position in Java to volunteer.  A solicitor from Manchester, who had previously been decorated for gallantry. Not just numbers, but members of the legal profession. People like you and me.

'Anniversaries such as these are all the more poignant when we face times of adversity and challenge. They let us take strength from what our forebears have overcome. They give us some perspective on what we face. They serve to remind us of all that unites us, at a time when it is easier to see what divides us.

'So as we reflect on the horrors of the past, we draw strength for the challenges of the future. If our predecessors can overcome the adversity they faced, we know that, united as a profession, we too can overcome ours.'

The Gazette's WW1 microsite has more material on solicitors' involvement in the Great War.