All change in key posts at Law Society and LSB

All change in key posts at Law Society and LSB

Last week Desmond Hudson the CEO of the Law Society announced his resignation whilst in the same week the new Chair of the LSB was announced.

Most conveyancers will know Des Hudson or at least know the name. Last week he announced that he will retire from his role in July, after the society’s annual general meeting.

Conveyancers should be disappointed that he is going because whether you agree with everything that he has done or not he has certainly worked hard to represent and try to defend conveyancers at a particularly difficult time.

The recession caused lenders to look carefully at which solicitors were on their panels and despite a significant risk that lenders would move to very small panels of hundreds of firms Des and his team were able to successfully maintain relatively broad and open panels for most lenders.

When the HSBC panel was reduced to below 50 firms the pressure from the profession as a whole but also the lengthy and often secret discussions between HSBC and the Law Society led to a victory for the Law Society by having CQS adopted by HSBC as part of the criteria to be in their panel.

Whilst many object to CQS and refer to its weaknesses it has helped many conveyancers stay on panels that they would otherwise have been removed from.

Des Hudson has also successfully laid the path for the Conveyancing Portal which should go live later this year. 

The role of leading a trade body for such a diverse group as solicitors is challenging and the expectations of what the Law Society could or should be doing are considerable.  Within just the conveyancing sector there are considerable conflicts between the interests of small sole practitioners and the largest conveyancing solicitor practices.

The challenges for the conveyancing market remain considerable and any new CEO will have to act nimbly to ensure that conveyancing remains a key revenue source for solicitors rather than for other lawyers. 

Legal Futures reports Des Hudson, saying: “A year ago I took the decision to retire in 2014. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to serve the Law Society during this time of change for the legal profession and I look forward to continuing to do so until I depart.

“I would particularly like to thank my colleagues and our volunteer community within the society for the support and guidance they have given me over the years. I am indebted to them and proud of what we have achieved together.”

Separately The Legal Services Board (LSB) welcomed the appointment of Sir Michael Pitt as the Chairman designate of the LSB. He will succeed David Edmonds CBE whose second term as Chairman comes to an end on 30 April 2014.

Lord Chancellor, Chris Grayling said: “I am pleased to announce Sir Michael Pitt as the new Chair of the Legal Services Board, and congratulate him on his appointment. He brings with him experience which will be invaluable to the LSB as it moves forward in its important work overseeing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales. I wish him good luck in his new role.” 

Chris Harris

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