Law Society launches what looks like a mag for ex-jail birds — but it’s really for in-house counsel

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Ludicrously-titled publication arrives as scourge of clinical negligence lawyers prepares to take Chancery Lane helm


Everyone wants a piece of corporate in-house lawyers these days.

Indeed, you know general counsel must be the new black when even the Law Society — the usually lumpen professional body for solicitors in England and Wales — twigs that they form a powerful group.

But in a bid to cozy up to that constituency by launching yet another publication targeting them, Chancery Lane has done little more than make itself look silly by concocting a ridiculous name for the online magazine.

It’s called “InsideOut”, which, as one Legal Cheek reader wag points out, sounds like a newsletter for recently released prisoners — or alternatively, a coffee table glossy for those in the interior design world.

But instead of riveting features on “Probation officers — the good, the bad and the ugly” and “Top tips for spring wallpaper”, InsideOut seems chockablock with the usual case studies of high-flying general counsel and their latest Venn diagrams for constructing the perfect law firm panel.

Meanwhile, Law Society-watchers — that dwindling band of anoraks still taking an interest in the increasingly irrelevant organisation — will be curiously awaiting the arrival of Chancery Lane’s next chief executive.

Catherine Dixon, the former top bod at the NHS Litigation Authority, is set to rock up at the society in the New Year. She replaces Des Hudson, who slipped out the door with tail between legs after losing a vote of confidence for his perceived mishandling of a campaign against government legal aid cuts, but clutching a large bag of severance cash nonetheless.

As they await Hudson’s replacement, existing senior staff will not be blamed for contacting headhunters, as there has been considerable speculation that Dixon will walk through the ornate Chancery Lane doors clutching a broom.

Still, the profession itself seems less than enamoured with the appointment. Some suggest Dixon devoted too much of her relatively short time at the NHSLA unfairly slagging off clinical negligence claimant solicitors, while others have raised questions over her managerial prowess.

Wrote one commentator on the Law Gazette website:

“In her time as CEO of the NHSLA Catherine Dixon has presided over an organisation that has become more unfit for purpose and which has indulged in some of the most misinformed and strenuous attacks upon claimant clinical negligence lawyers. She will blame the government’s funding cuts, but if she clearly doesn’t have influence with government and she probably can’t command the respect of the profession why on earth has she been appointed?”

Well, at least Dixon’s got a new in-house mag to take her mind off professional brick-bat throwing.