Legal Twittersphere mocks Law Society claims to be at the heart of Whitehall

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By Judge John Hack on

Chancery Lane marketing campaign trumpeting lobbying efforts elicits jibes over failure to halt legal aid cuts


With Yorkshire bruiser and former Law Society chief executive Des Hudson off the premises as of the beginning of this month, Chancery Lane seems to be trying to love-bomb solicitors to convince hard-pressed members that they get value for money from the quasi-trade union.

The society jumped into the Twittersphere yesterday to boast that it has big-time sway in Whitehall’s corridors of power. The tweet (below) linked to a new page on the Chancery Lane website in which three talking-head solicitors wax lyrical about the benefits the society provides practitioners for the £23 million or so they annually hand over for its running.

On the plus side, this consisted of Rachel Crookes — a partner at Yorkshire-based hlw Keeble Hawson — thanking Chancery Lane for organising a roundtable discussion in God’s own county looking at civil justice issues. She also credited the society for intervening in the Court of Appeal relief from sanctions hearing earlier this year.

Next up is Mark Evans, a partner at Wales-England border firm Allington Hughes Law, who also happens to be a member of the Law Society’s private client, property and law management sections. In the on-line video, he is very impressed that several Law Society presidents have made the effort to visit the principality.

Finally City and global practice gets a predictable nod as Sakil Suleman, a partner at the London office of US firm Reed Smith, is wheeled out. He highlights the Law Society launch five years ago of a groundbreaking diversity charter, to which his firm was a founding signatory.

Suleman also gets a lot of screen time engaged in a mobile ‘phone conversation and speaking to members of the Reed Smith reception team, presumably in a bid to demonstrate that lawyers are real people.

All very motherhood and apple pie — and indeed, why shouldn’t the Law Society attempt to blow its own trumpet. It is widely expected that sooner or later the very same Whitehall where it claims to wield so much lobbying power will force the organistion to drop its tax on the profession and fund its activities through a membership fee and commercial activities.

But alas the fickle profession can be so cruel. Those solicitors that have taken notice around the social media universe have been less than complimentary.

Robert West ironically intimates that Chancery Lane’s lobbying powers are obvious, claiming that the devastating knocks the profession has sustained at the hands of the Ministry of Justice over legal aid and personal injury litigation would surely have been even worse had society officials not been schmoozing ministers and mandarins alike.

NorthEastLawyer doesn’t bother with sarcasm, simply tweeting that the Law Society is “deluded”. The one person to click “favourite” on the society’s promotional tweet describes herself as a “PeopleAlchemist”. With friends like that …

Nonetheless, those with an interest in the solicitors’ professional body — or those with an absurd sense of humour — can log on for the Law Society’s #SolicitorHour on Twitter this afternoon at 1 o’clock.

Chancery Lane exhorts solicitors to;

“post whatever you like about your practice — promote your services, offer your tips and insights, tell us your news and successes, comment on others’ posts and reach out to potential new clients and recruits”.

Legal Cheek tried to engage last week, but received no feedback. Perhaps we’ll have another go. Or perhaps we’ll nip down the pub …