Chairman Peter Staples opened the meeting advising that one apology had been received. A final reminder that Christmas Lunch orders (December 13th) needed to be with John Taylor by next Tuesday (29th) latest.
Today’s Speaker saw Mr Jerry Pearlman take the floor— a Leeds solicitor and keen rambler being Honorary Solicitor to the Ramblers Association for many years–with his talk “The Death Of The Common Attorney”. This proved to be an entertaining and anecdotal advocacy outlining the great pace of change which has affected the legal profession in such a way that the common attorney/small practice solicitor is in danger of extinction!! Jerry touched on some of the differences between solicitors and barristers, how working conditions and practices had changed with such things as E/Mail, Bank Transfer procedures and modern photocopying facilities as well as reliance on- line publication of legal text books which has replaced the sizeable and expensive bound books of previous years. He argued that the loss of monopoly markets in matters such as conveyancing, wills and probates and changes in licensing legislation had all impacted on his profession reducing the cream and sometimes the actual milk itself from revenue. There was also much less criminal work for solicitors due to an increasing reliance on Police cautions; limited firms of solicitors used for criminal legal aid work and the increasing local use of McKenzie Friends to assist a litigant in court. Divorce and Separation were nowadays much less complex issues bringing again a reduced legal workload and with litigation changes proposed, such as minimising whiplash claims, that would continue the trend of the Common Attorney’s demise. He shared some reminisces of cases and clients he had been involved with and took pride in his personal involvement in drafting Parliamentary Bills legislation which led to the Right to Roam as well as seeing his provincial firm appear twice in the Times Law Reports on the same day!! An engaged audience asked a number of pertinent questions after he concluded.
The Vote of Thanks was given by Keith Wadd on behalf of the 43 members attending.
Two late notices were announced:
–a reminder of the Church’s Christmas Fair on Saturday November 26th and a request for donations and/or attendance.
–Terry Byrne advised of the Green Hut offering a Christmas Lunch to local residents who were on their own–he has details if anyone knows persons who may benefit.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY