Law Management Section chair Robert Banner provides an update on the Section’s work and upcoming events

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our members and readers a very happy and prosperous 2016. I hope this year sees a less volatile legal market than previous years, and firms can settle down and plan for a successful year. And you need look no further than the Law Management Section’s 2016 programme of events to help you in this regard.

In forthcoming months, there will be a series of regional forums. The first, in York on 3 February, will already have taken place by the time you read this. There are more to follow, and though dates are subject to change, you can see what we have planned in the Law Management Section engagement programme. You will find a link in the Benefits of Membership box on the right-hand side of the Section website (

Highlights of the plan include our annual HR forum at Chancery Lane on 16 March. It’s an impressive line-up as usual, and plenary sessions will include recruitment and retention, absence management (including shared parental leave), as well as a round-up of employment law and a variety of workshops.

Our flagship event, the annual conference, will be held on 27 April. This year, expert speakers will include Professor Richard Susskind, Professor Stephen Mayson, Julie Harrison, Robert Mowbray, David Gilroy and Peter Wright. The sessions are, as always, supplemented by practical breakout sessions aimed at all types of firm.

I am pleased to report that there has been an excellent take-up of our new corporate membership, and given what good value it is, it’s not hard to see why: five extra members of a firm can join for only £100 more than a single member, meaning that the membership fee for six members is less than £50 per person. This gives firms the ability to join not only managing partners but also heads of IT, HR, marketing and so on. All members have access to all membership benefits, including a copy of this magazine, webinars, and discounts on events.

Now to committee updates. Unfortunately, Paul Widdop, member of the committee and Law Society Council member, will be retiring in July. Paul has been a mainstay of the committee for many years, and I would like to thank him for his contribution. Meena Kumari returns to the committee after maternity leave and, although Paul Bennett has stepped down as chair of the small firms committee, I am pleased to report that he is now a member of the law management committee. And I am, of course, delighted to welcome Sally Azarmi as the incoming chair of the small firms committee, and look forward to working with her.

Finally, I was saddened to hear of Andy Duxbury’s death, aged only 56. Andy was one of the first non-lawyer CEOs, having been appointed to that role in 2006 at Aaron & Partners in Chester (Paul Bennett’s firm). He was a keen supporter of the Section, and spoke on behalf of medium-sized firms at last year’s annual conference. Andy was active in the wider professional and business community too, and will be sadly missed by family, friends and colleagues.

I do hope that our efforts to provide you with the best possible service throughout the year are successful, and I look forward to seeing you at any of our events throughout the year.