Our President

Written By: Jason Waghorne
Edition: July 2019

Following last month’s globetrotting I have found myself on far more familiar territory.

My month began with a visit to Nottingham Trent University to partake in their celebration of the Nottingham Law School Legal Advice Centre, which has recently reached the milestone of having recovered £3,000,000 for its users.

Many of you will be aware of the Legal Advice Centre. By way of potted history, the Legal Advice Centre began in 2006 as a Legal Advice Clinic which provided a free legal advice and referral service. What you may not be aware of is that in 2015 the Legal Advice Centre obtained its ABS licence and, in doing so, became the first law firm to be fully integrated into a law school. The Centre is now headed by a familiar face: Laura Pinkney, who you will know was President of the Society last year.

The caseworker and legal assistants at the Centre are all current or former students which, aside from affording the opportunity to work on cases and develop an interest in particular areas of law, gives students the chance to put skills into practice and gain valuable experience to take into the workplace.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me: all of this bodes well for the quality of the next generation of lawyers and builds on Nottingham’s rightful position as a centre of legal excellence.

The future seems assured and bright, with the Legal Advice Centre looking to increase collaboration with other law firms and organisations in the next academic year to widen the services it offers. It should therefore come as no surprise that the Centre’s successes have caught the attention of other universities who are looking to establish similar operations. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, those involved with the Centre can look back (and forward!) with a great deal of satisfaction.

This month’s quota of canapes was well and truly exceeded when I, along with 40 or so others, attended the “Across the Professions” networking and fundraising event at Stratstone Land Rover. The event was put on in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and the Chartered Institute of Taxation and afforded the attendees the opportunity to socialise and forge links with fellow professionals.

To view the Photo Gallery click here

Money raised from the raffle went to Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and Tanya Taylor, who was there to represent the charity, moved many with stories of how the charity is on call to help with accidents and emergencies. Tanya explained that the charity is now offering a 24/7 service and, to the surprise of the room, how the charity is not connected with the NHS, receives no central funding and is therefore reliant upon money from benefactors and fundraising. Considering that many areas of Nottinghamshire are put aside for agriculture and can therefore be rather remote, it was comforting to know that in times of adversity, help can be on hand and delays minimised.

June saw this year’s Law Society Presidents and Secretaries conference at Chancery Lane. Due to family reasons I was unable to attend, so I would like to thank Shama Gupta and Michelle Taylor for representing Nottinghamshire Law Society in my absence.

No doubt a number of you will have read the “Local Heroes” article in the Gazette. Personally, I was shocked, but not surprised, to learn that over the past 25 years, in excess of 30 local law societies have disappeared. Thankfully, Nottinghamshire Law Society is not one of them!

The theme running through the article is that societies need to embrace change in order to face down the challenges they face. To quote Bristol Law Society’s president Nicholas Lee, societies must “deliver a range of services for the community they serve” and to ensure they are “relevant to practice and to what members want”

The eagle-eyed among you may recognise such a theme from my initial Bulletin message, in which I wrote: “In times of change, constancy is appealing. But relevance to our members, in whatever form that may take, should be our watch-word, and my focus in the coming year is to see that what we do is looked upon with that in mind”.

I am delighted that our society adopts this attitude and, in doing so, not only finds itself to be thriving and vibrant, but a valuable resource for all of its members.

Best Wishes

                       Jason Waghorne