Our President

Written By: Jason Waghorne
Edition: June 2019

There was a distinctly international feel to my first full month as President and, as expected, I had to hit the ground running.

Less than 24 hours into the role the Society hosted 12 lawyers from Brazil, Columbia and Mexico, all of whom have between 2 and 8 years PQE. Drawing on their experience of hosting visitors from Ghent and Karlsruhe, Kathryn Mier and Daniel Harley, ably supported by Michelle Taylor and representatives from the national Law Society, put together a varied programme of events which garnered extremely positive feedback from the delegates.

The day began at Shoosmiths and was followed by a visit to Walgreens Boots Alliance where they learned about being an in-house lawyer and had the opportunity to tour the archives. Back in town, the delegates enjoyed a fish and chip lunch, though the delights of mushy peas seemed lost on many.

Suitably fed and watered, the delegates attended a meeting with His Honour Jonathan Teare, the High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, and then enjoyed watching a mock civil application in one of the courts at the National Justice Museum. The day was rounded off with a networking event hosted by Browne Jacobson before the delegates caught a train back to London for the next leg of their visit. 

I am happy to report that the day was a great success. Thankfully, the lack of Spanish and Portuguese speakers from the Society was not a barrier to what was an excellent event.

Hot on the heels of our Latin American event, a merry band of 12 set off to Karlsruhe as part of the Society’s regular twinning with the Karlsruhe Bar. Our delegation was joined in Karlsruhe by a pair from Ghent who had driven across France to join us.

With many new and familiar faces, clearly international borders are no barrier to rekindling old friendships, nor forging new bonds. This was my first official twinning event and, without hesitation, I would say that it was a roaring success as we were wined, dined and entertained for the duration.  

While not on the official itinerary, I would like to make special mention that the inaugural ‘Karlsruhe Dash’ (an old fashioned 100 yard sprint) was won by the German ‘team’ despite a strong British showing. Unfortunately, as the German contingent was made up of two (notably young) passers-by, the opportunity to wrest the spoils of victory back from the participants at the next Karlsruhe event seems remote, to say the least!  

For more images view the video.

On a different note, I had the pleasure of attending the celebratory Women in Law event held at Ropewalk Chambers. The evening’s keynote speakers were all excellent: Her Honour Judge Alison Hampton, Laura Pinkney ex-President of the Society and now the head of Nottingham Trent University’s Legal Advice Centre, and Jayne Adams QC, Head of Ropewalk Chambers.

As I acknowledged at the time, if it is that a civilized society is one that it is guided by and operates according to the principles of the rule of law, it seems remarkable that, a little over 100 years ago, our society was not civilized enough to admit women into the legal profession.

Much has changed, of course, but while the profession is increasingly more enlightened, it remains far from perfect. That said, events like the Women in Law seminar are a great opportunity, not only to pause and reflect on the struggles of those early pioneers, but also to laud and celebrate the accomplishments of those women that followed in their footsteps.

The story of women in law is one of aspiration, persistence and dedication. To end on a personal note, as a father to two young daughters, I am personally thankful for the inspiration to girls and women of all ages, which stems from their triumphs.

Best Wishes

                       Jason Waghorne