As we launch our marketing strategy for 2020/21, I wish to replicate briefly on a number of the highlights of the previous 12 months, and the teachings we might be taking into our future operations. 

Paul Tennant

Trying again

Having joined the Legislation Society three years in the past, I used to be pleased with what the group had achieved in my tenure to date and searching ahead to urgent forward with remodeling the organisation in 2020. Little did I, or anyone else, know what was across the nook.

In most years, the hearth at our Chancery Lane workplace in early February can be probably the most essential interruption an organisation must come to phrases with.

We needed to react swiftly and, importantly, we had already invested in modernising our IT and programs over the previous few years. So when that disaster hit, we might all earn a living from home instantly and proceed to ship for our members, regardless of the difficult circumstances, with out shedding a day of operations.

The affect of the hearth on us as an organisation then paled into insignificance because the Covid-19 pandemic, and ensuing lockdown, took centre stage in March.

Fortuitously, being ‘remote-ready’, as we had been earlier than the Chancery Lane blaze, and the expertise gained from working remotely after the hearth, left us higher ready than many others could have been to proceed working efficiently, and assist our members come to phrases with the extraordinary new surroundings.

It was clear from the outset that we wanted to have interaction straight with members and to take heed to their considerations and the problems they have been dealing with, in order that we might present them with related help and help. We have been shortly in a position to present priceless recommendation, help and steering, and spoke visibly on behalf of members, securing vital coverage adjustments.

This has been the bedrock of our method and allowed us to adapt to member wants because the affect of the pandemic shifted and it grew to become clear it was right here to remain.

Selecting out only a few examples, we helped guarantee our members might proceed to maintain the wheels of justice turning and have been secure when doing so, by influencing protocols in court docket, police stations and prisons.

The federal government accepted our definition of which attorneys ought to rely as key employees, permitting solicitors’ youngsters to attend faculty and members to proceed working, and we efficiently pressed the SRA to take a proportionate method to enforcement.

Adjustments have been secured to make sure members might get on with enterprise whereas working remotely and safely, whereas focused help was delivered to these underneath probably the most monetary stress by way of heavy reductions on accreditations and making most occasions free.

On the identical time, we have been in a position to full core work on behalf of the occupation. This included supporting members to proceed practising within the EU after Brexit, securing adjustments in each legal and civil authorized assist that imply extra folks will get entry to justice, and defending the rule of regulation.

Our coverage and lobbying resulted within the SRA abandoning its proposed reforms {of professional} indemnity insurance coverage, which might have weakened the protections that solicitors and shoppers acquired.

Internally, we have now continued our transformation programme – which was key to us being agile and responsive when disaster hit – trying to enhance our providing to members. This included launching a brand new buyer relationship administration system, a brand new web site and a brand new on-line studying platform for our members.

I’m extraordinarily grateful to our employees and voluntary members for what they achieved throughout an unprecedented 12 months, and I hope this has been of assist to you and your companies.

Trying forward

Working in opposition to a backdrop of disruption and uncertainty created by the pandemic, in addition to the continued fallout from Brexit, centered our considering extra sharply than ever on what the true priorities are for the occupation and the Society within the coming 12 months.

If 2020 has taught us something, it’s to count on the surprising. We all know that the 12 months forward will convey extra uncertainty for the nation, the economic system, the occupation and the Legislation Society, as demonstrated by us all now coming into a second nationwide lockdown. The monetary, political, regulatory and coverage panorama might be more and more difficult.  

In making ready our 2020/21 plans we’re looking for to handle that uncertainty, significantly within the wider world, on behalf of our members.

On the forefront of our work might be selling various key themes on behalf of our members, who’ve instructed us what issues most to them, in addition to enhancing what we provide to members and modernising our business technique.

We’ll promote entry to justice by working to make sure that very important Ministry of Justice opinions into the sustainability of authorized assist apply, the means check, and the function of data, recommendation and illustration, ship clear advantages for our members and their shoppers. Alongside this, we wish to make sure the courts proceed to operate in the course of the pandemic, rising from the opposite facet modernised however with out compromising justice outcomes.

The Legislation Society can even take its place on the forefront of efforts to guard and uphold the rule of regulation from potential threats, each home and worldwide. We intention to make sure that authorities plans to reform judicial assessment and the human rights framework don’t have a detrimental impact on entry to justice. Notably regarding is the latest spate of political and media assaults on the rule of regulation. Selling and defending the rule of regulation might be a key a part of what the Society stands for over the following 12 months, as it’s a core worth underlying each our justice system and our economic system.

Within the 12 months that the EU transition interval ends, the Legislation Society will be certain that our worldwide companies and members have the knowledge they should adapt their companies. We’ll proceed to hunt liberalisation of key markets within the EU and globally, by way of dialogue with abroad bars and the alternatives that an unbiased UK commerce coverage regime creates. A key precedence might be urgent for a speedy accession to the Lugano Conference, to make sure the very best regime for recognition and enforcement of judgments. We can even work with members, the federal government and judiciary to protect and strengthen the qualities that proceed to make England and Wales uniquely enticing as a International Authorized centre.

Elsewhere, we are going to affect regulation and cash laundering guidelines and help the occupation in compliance. This may embody looking for to make sure members’ danger and compliance wants, particularly in relation to anti-money laundering, are totally understood they usually have the proper help merchandise in place. We’ll affect the Authorized Companies Board’s deliberate assessment of reserved actions, the result of the Competitors and Markets Authority’s assessment and the federal government’s financial crime levy to make sure that our coverage positions are properly mirrored within the last outcomes.

Recognising the challenges that each we and lots of others face to create a contemporary, various and inclusive occupation, we are going to problem and help members to undertake practices and suggestions from latest tasks on gender, race and incapacity.

The final 12 months has illustrated greater than ever the necessity to help the financial worth and viability of members’ companies. Members ought to really feel that the Legislation Society ‘has their again’ and that their companies are supported throughout a turbulent financial interval, with the Society seen as a powerful advocate of the occupation and its significance to the financial restoration.

In our member survey this 12 months, we heard that you just wished us to strengthen what we provide to members and to enhance our communications with you. We’ll assessment what we provide to verify our services and products meet the wants of members, in addition to ensuring we’re member-focused in every little thing that we do. This consists of growing our digital engagement with members by way of on-line occasions, which has proved profitable in the course of the pandemic and which we are going to construct on. For instance, we have now simply launched a digital group pilot for small companies, the place they will speak to us about what issues most to them.

Our web site, and studying and training companies can even proceed to be reworked to make it simpler to seek out and use our companies, with no extra clunky previous know-how. We might be a lot clearer to members about what companies they obtain totally free and encourage members to make use of them, no matter their enterprise, wherever they’re based mostly and no matter stage of their profession they’re at.

We recognise that members are dealing with a spread of recent challenges, together with redundancy, and can tailor the help we provide accordingly.

Given the financial challenges which all of us face, we have to modernise our business technique. This may be achieved by bringing on board new business companions, modernising the best way we promote on our digital channels, providing new programs on Legislation Society Studying to help the growth of accreditations, and taking advantage of revenue from occasions transferring to a web based or hybrid mannequin.

Plans are vital to show we’re listening and responding to you and, as with this 12 months, I believe we might want to change and adapt because the working surroundings adjustments. We’ll proceed to concentrate on making a distinction for solicitors, being the voice of the occupation with decision-makers, and campaigning and lobbying to guard entry to justice and the rule of regulation.

Little question this might be a tough 12 months forward for our members. Our function is to rise to the problem and be there for them, no matter circumstances they face.

 

Paul Tennant is chief government of the Legislation Society