The President of the Law Society visits Wilsons
Date posted: 8 December 2021
On 8th December 2021, we were honoured to receive a visit from I. Stephanie Boyce, the President of the Law Society.
We invited the President to visit us after she had presented Michael Hanley with the Life Time Achievement award at the Law Society Excellence Awards this year, and the firm had won the Access to Justice Award. We were so pleased that the President accepted the invitation and was able to spend the morning with us to see the workings of a Legal Aid firm in Tottenham.
The President met with Matthew Davies, our managing partner, and with the Heads of Department to discuss the current issues facing legal aid firms. These include the restrictions on access to justice due to the government removing areas of law from the scope of legal aid and the reduction in capacity for legal aid cases due to the low fees paid which means it is not viable to do legal aid in volume – it needs to be cross-subsidised by other types of work.
We identified the failure of government to increase the legal aid rates for 25 years as the main threat facing the survival of legal aid firms and why access to justice is so limited. The government has an opportunity to increase the rates, just to catch up with inflation, when it tenders for new legal aid contracts next year and we hope it takes that opportunity.
We gave the President a tour of our office and she had an opportunity to meet some members of our family, immigration, public law, and administration teams. She also met with our three new 18 year old solicitor apprentices.
The visit concluded with a presentation from our ethnic minority committee about the letters we had written to future lawyers for Black History Month.
These letters were written about inspiring black lawyers and activists – how they have inspired us and how we hope reading the letters will inspire future generations too. One of the letters was about how the President herself had inspired our lawyers. We placed the letters in a Time Capsule and the President very kindly joined us to bury the Time Capsule in our office garden.
We were honoured to receive the President and thank her for giving up her time to meet with and listen to us. She is a fantastic leader of our profession and a true believer in justice for all.