Our President

Our President

Written By: Philip Turton
Edition: September 2020

Dear Colleague

As for all, the last six months have presented particular challenges for Nottinghamshire Law Society.  The restrictions imposed by the pandemic have not only prevented us pursuing our usual social programme, including cancellation of our overseas trip to visit our sister Law Society in Ghent, but has also changed the way in which the Law Society operates its training and seminar programme.  In 2011, after a number of years at its Carrington Street office, Nottinghamshire Law Society moved to premises on Friar Lane at The Hub, an office complex in the centre of town.  One of the attractions of the move was that the Society rented larger premises which included, in addition to office space for our administrator, a larger meeting room.  Not only did this enable the Law Society Council to meet in comfort, it meant that the Law Society could pursue an active programme of training, through the mediums of seminars, lectures and the like, which were hosted in our additional meeting room.  This represented an expansion, at the time, in Law Society activity, to the benefit of all members, and also served to provide a useful additional income stream, additional to our members’ subscriptions (helping us, in a small way, to keep our subscriptions down).  This was a change from the years which preceded the move, when the Law Society would rent or borrow space around town for its events.

The pandemic, of course, has meant that the seminars have not been able to proceed as they had.  In fact, the Law Society’s premises had to be closed, as with all offices, during the period of lockdown and the restrictions upon social gatherings still mean that it is impossible to use the seminar room for its intended purpose.  Of course, our active programme has continued.  Just recently, the Law Society has hosted informative seminars from Sue Woollett on effective use of Zoom and from Paul Balen, on mediation.  These seminars were hosted using virtual platforms – in Sue’s case, Zoom itself and, in Paul’s, via Microsoft Teams.  We have been keen to ensure that our training programme continues, so the Society has adapted new technologies to ensure that this can take place.  The market for training has changed and in the view of Council is unlikely to return to its former state.  We expect to see increased use of technology, and steps are being taken to ensure our training programme is more convenient in the longer term.

This has led Council to the decision that the Law Society need no longer retain the premises at The Hub.  We doubt that the sizeable seminar room will receive the use which was intended for it and it is clear that there are other means available whereby the Law Society can still pursue all of its former activities but without incurring the cost of renting a large space on a permanent basis in order to do so.

The Law Society, accordingly, is on the move again.  We are moving to new premises in the autumn, which will be efficiently manned by Michelle, our administrator, and provide the Society with all that it requires in terms of administrative capability.  We will keep our seminar programme under review to ensure that it is fully effective in delivering what our members want.  If a return to hard space is required for individual events, we intend to utilise facilities around Nottingham and available to us through our members.  Our social programme has always taken place “off-site” and, when we begin to gather again, that will continue.  I have to say I am looking forward to it.  It has been a long time since we were able to gather as a Society and enjoy a drink and conversation together and the sooner we can return to that aspect of normality the better, in my view.

Watch this space accordingly.  We think we have identified a suitable location, still in the Nottingham city centre, at which the Law Society may be housed.  Negotiations are ongoing but I am cautiously optimistic that I will be able to report, next time, on the Law Society’s new address and new office building.  Perhaps by then I will also be able to report the return of our social programme, and begin to set out how we propose to move forward into and through 2021 in a post-pandemic world.

Whatever you are doing, keep well.

Best wishes,

Philip Turton

President 2020-2021