PLS Committee Officers 2022
President – Craig Moore, Womble Bond Dickinson
Vice-President – Rebecca Wood, Woollcombe Yonge
Honorary Secretary – Rhodri Davey, Kitsons
Honorary Treasurer – James Walsh, GA Solicitors
Council Member – Steven Hudson, Gard & Co
PJLD President – Adam Richards, Womble Bond Dickinson
Year as President
The very first thing that I would like to do is to say the most enormous thanks to my predecessor, James Walsh. Not only did he steer the Society so successfully in the 2 years before me and through a global pandemic, but also for the enormous support that he has given me both in preparation for my year and throughout the year. I am really grateful to him.
I would also like to thank everybody else who has helped me during the year. That includes the fantastic people on the committee, my PA’s, the brilliant team at Fuel, Plymouth Argyle and the University as well as the City Council.
I would also like to say a very special thanks to Steven Hudson who is our Council member. He has also organised the Mayflower Lectures for more than a decade, and it is was a particular joy to be able to present him with a picture of the Mayflower and a signed book from Baroness Hale at the Mayflower Lecture as a token of our thanks for everything that he has done, with the lecture, as Council member and as committee member. He will be a hard act to follow and I am very grateful to Rhodri for agreeing to take the lead and work with a delegated group to take the Mayflower Lecture forward.
I would also like to say a particular thanks to my Vice President, Rebecca Wood. It has been a particular pleasure to get to know her better and to work with her over the last 12 months, and I am hugely grateful for her support.
It has been an enormous privilege to be President over the last 12 months, and in particular to be able to meet and work with so many fantastic people. It is something that I will always treasure and there are a significant number of highlights.
We were very fortunate to be able to get back to normality after the COVID years. As a consequence we supported the re-establishing of a Plymouth Junior Lawyer Division with a grant and support.
We had the privilege of hosting Stephanie Boyce, the National Law Society President, in March. Although she was only with us for less than 24 hours, we had a fantastic programme which gave a lot of people an opportunity to hear from her as well as for her to mix with the profession and those that were looking at joining the profession. Her trip included a lecture at the University which was open to students, Law Society members and members of the public. It is no exaggeration to say that she and her talk were incredibly inspirational. Persevere Until Something Happens (PUSH) is something that resonated with all of us. In addition, we held a dinner for her to give the committee a chance to meet her and also for her to meet our wide mix of professionals and have a chance to ask questions that she wanted. Plymouth City Council and, in particular, the Lord Mayor, kindly allowed us to use her facilities the following morning so that we could have senior and managing partners from a number of member firms meet with Stephanie to talk through how they are seeing things, challenges for the profession as well as opportunities. We then went to Ballard House to give members of the Society a chance to meet with Stephanie and talk to her before we went to Devonport High School for Girls for Stephanie to meet a diverse mix of people who were interested in a career in the law.
Despite personally having the benefit of significant numbers of business service colleagues, I, and others, were worried about the sustainability of so much often falling on the shoulders of the President, and other committee members. In addition, we have to acknowledge our own limitations and therefore, as a committee agreed to a 2 year trial to have Fuel Communications assist us with our communication strategy and implementation, assistance on social media and with sponsorship, amongst other things. That has been hugely successful and I have no doubt will help the Society to achieve a greater impact and be more sustainable as a consequence.
We were able to secure significant sponsorship during the year and I am particularly grateful to our sponsors, Conveyancing Data Solutions, KE Costs, Marsh Commercial, Eloquent Technologies and Fuel Communications.
We have been able to enjoy last Friday drinks at the Treasury with anybody from member firms being welcome to come along and have a free first drink. It has been a great way for our profession to come together after COVID, to socialise, meet peers and to have an opportunity to network.
Rhodri, James and I were privileged to attend the Devon and Somerset Law Society Dinner at Exeter Cathedral in June. The new Law Society President, Lubna Shuja, (then Vice President), was a guest speaker and we invited her to follow in Stephanie’s footsteps and visit us in Plymouth. In addition we heard from the inspirational Simon Weston in the beautiful surroundings of Exeter Cathedral, and with the evening sunlight shining through the stunning stained glass windows.
We have continued to work with other local Law Societies and the Association of South West Law Societies (ASWLS) and donated to leaving presents to some of their stalwart team. We have also represented the legal profession with attendance at other professional dinners, including for accountants, insurers and personal financial managers.
It was an incredible honour to represent the Society at the opening of the legal year service and ceremony at Westminster Abbey and the reception in Westminster Hall afterwards.
I was delighted that at the Law Society dinner in October we had students from the University, guests from the Plymouth business community and the majority of member firms take tables. It was a fantastic evening and I am particularly grateful for all of the assistance we had at Plymouth Argyle.
We were incredibly fortunate to host the postponed Mayflower Lecture with Baroness Hale. She is a titan of the legal world, a real trailblazer and inspiration. It was a fantastic evening and tremendous that we were able to introduce her to so many of the students and to have such a successful and fascinating event.
I was pleased that we were able to hold our traditional carol service at St Andrew’s Church and in addition that we were again able to support the University of Plymouth Law Society’s cheese and wine networking event. We have been particularly keen to increase access to the profession, and to provide advice and information to all those who are interested in the profession, no matter what their age or background.
As a committee we were delighted that with our efforts over the year, we have been able to make donations of £1,500.00 to each of St Luke’s Hospice, Plymouth Children in Poverty and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
We have also discussed aligning our financial year with the presidential term to make things clearer and more consistent.
It has been fantastic to see the contribution that our member firms make to our communities and it is important that we continue to amplify what firms do and, I am sure that our partnership with Fuel will assist greatly.
As I said at the beginning, this has been the most incredible year for me. It is without question a highlight of my legal career and I am extremely grateful for everybody who helped me, with particular thanks to my Vice President, Rebecca Wood. I very much look forward to supporting her in the way that James Walsh so generously did with me.
President of Plymouth Law Society
12 January 2023