Law Society appoints Janet Paraskeva first chief executive

Janet Paraskeva, the current director of the National Lottery Charities Board in England, is to be the new chief executive of the Law Society, it was announced this week.Ms Paraskeva will take over the top staff post at Chancery Lane from 1 October, replacing Jane Betts, the currentsecretary-general.

The Society confirmed that Ms Betts, who has been in post since 1996, will 'pursue other business and professional interests in the UK and the United States'.Earlier this year, the Law Society's Council approved the creation of a new post of chief executive in place of the secretary-general.

Ms Paraskeva, 54, takes on the 120,000 role after five years at the National Lottery Charities Board, the independent body that allocates lottery grant money to charities.Before that, Ms Paraskeva spent four years as chief executive of the National Youth Agency, following a stint as director of the National Youth Bureau.

Ms Paraskeva has also served as a magistrate and as a member of the Home Office's Youth Justice Board.

In addition, she has been involved with a number of charities and public bodies, including ChildLine and OFSTED's standing consultancy group.

And she is currently a member of the Council of Leicester University.Ms Paraskeva will arrive at Chancery Lane as the Law Society positions itself to implement a significant programme of corporate governance reform.

In a statement she said: 'The outcome of the reform process must be a Law Society that leads the solicitors' profession effectively and with restored credibility as a regulator and representative body in the eyes of solicitors, the public and government.' Welcoming the appointment, Society President Michael Napier said the new post was 'pivotal in achieving reform'.

Mr Napier paid tribute to Ms Betts for her 'capacity to remain calm and focused, even in tough situations'.Ms Betts highlighted her role in addressing complaints handling at the Office for the Supervision of Solicitors as one of her major achievements at the Society.

She said: 'I have completed the tasks for which I was appointed and now wish the new chief executive all the best for the future.'

Jonathan Ames