Our President

Our President

Written By: Philip Turton
Edition: March 2021

It feels right to open this Newsletter with the words of George Harrison, which always seem apposite at this time of year.  Winter breaks into Spring; green shoots begin to appear; the promise of a new year opening up in front of us brings hope and optimism.  In this year of all years, and after what feels like the longest of winters, we may also be seeing light at the end of the tunnel imposed upon us by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Whilst we are still in the early stages of any emergence, the government has set out a roadmap back to normality, its vaccine programme seems to be working (and for once, in this area, Britain is ahead of the game), there is reason to think that, in due course and with proper observation of safety procedures, we may be able to emerge, again, blinking, into the sunlight of normality.   I hope so anyway.


Through this time, Nottinghamshire Law Society has worked hard to maintain its services for its members.  Our programme of seminars has continued.  Our competitions have been maintained.  The President’s Cup was completed at the end of 2020 and the entries are now in for the Kevin De Silva essay competition, which the society has restored.  Our local civil judges, Judge Godsmark QC and Judge Coe QC have formed the judging panel and we will be holding a Results Night on 25th March online.   The Hammond Cup is due to start shortly.  Socially, the annual John Pearce Quiz was held in February online (and won by the Nottingham Law School team: “The Academy”) and, as I write, the Society’s Cocktail Masterclass and Taskmaster Competition will take place tomorrow evening, 18th March.   I am not sure entirely what is in store, but a box of “equipment” and alcoholic drinks arrived days ago, and I am pleased that it is to be put to good use.  In April we have an online event planned: “Cheese and Wine with Animal QC” in which renowned Barrister, reformed football hooligan and raconteur (if that is the correct order) Gary Bell QC will be subjected to questions and chat from our own Lisa Hardy.  A fantastic night is in store and you can both eat and drink whilst listening.  Details to be released soon, so watch your Inboxes.  Once that event is out of the way, we will be looking, again, to a return to a more usual programme, moving offline again and meeting up as we have done before.  I would note that Nottinghamshire Law Society has been at the forefront of those regional Law Societies that have maintained their activity and services during the pandemic.   Many simply closed their doors until the pandemic was over but we have not.  We have continued to engage with our members, to provide the services which are expected of us, brought people together for training, in altered form, and socially and we have continued to engage with our younger members entering the profession – not only through our competitions but also by our new mentoring programme.   There are larger Law Societies than us in England and Wales but very few that are as active, and it is thus a matter of pride to be able to serve such an active Society as its President.


On that note I should record that the Nottinghamshire Law Society Governing Council has determined that, because of the exceptional conditions of the last year, it will recommend to the membership that the current officers of your Society will remain in post for 2021/22.  You should all have received an announcement to that effect by email.  Thus, assuming this proves acceptable to the forthcoming AGM, the current Vice President of the Society and Chief Crown Prosecutor of the East Midlands CPS, Janine Smith, will become your President, accordingly, at the AGM in 2022, rather than this year. 


There is also news from Chancery Lane.  Those wanting to keep up to date with the national Law Society can find the latest news updates on our website, the most recent from 9th March 2021 relating to international gender equality for women in the law.  Stephanie Boyce, in unexpected circumstances, has become President and has written to all members setting out her plans for the future.  In December 2020, the Law Society dispensed with the services of its local Relationship Managers, with whom we had forged good working relationships.  It has now set out its plans to engage with local law societies better, building and maintaining better relationships – which is encouraging.    Our link with the national Law Society is important, providing a ready means of communication between local solicitors and their representative body.  Since Nottinghamshire Law Society now accepts Barristers as members, I would hope that in due course a link of similar strength may be established with the Bar Council, but that will take more time to navigate. 


We have lived through unprecedented times.  It is not yet clear what lies ahead, nor how we will deal with it.    I doubt that what we return to will be the same as what we left but it may be no worse for that and there is cause to believe that some aspects imposed upon us in lockdown, which have proven more efficient than was foreseen, will be kept.   Virtual technology is unlikely to leave us, and clearly has a place in the conduct of litigation and the running of cases.  The mountains of paper, diminishing before lockdown, are now replaced with electronic bundles, and so much the better for the environment as a result.  For the first time perhaps for several months, there is reason to look forward to optimism and to new opportunities.  Good luck to each of you in approaching them.

Yours as ever,


Philip Turton

President 2020-2021