James Turner has been appointed President of Birmingham Law Society (BLS), two hundred years after the organisation was founded.

James is a partner at national law firm Tuckers Solicitors LLP, and manages the Birmingham office. A criminal defence specialist, James is a duty solicitor and higher court advocate. He is a member of the Legal Agency Peer Review panel, responsible for reviewing firms conducting publicly funded criminal defence work.

Named president at BLS’s AGM, James succeeds Andrew Beedham, of Clarke Willmott, in the chair.

A member of BLS since 2006, James chaired the organisation’s criminal law committee for five years, drafting and contributing to Ministry of Justice consultation papers affecting criminal justice; he became an officer of BLS in 2016.

He said: “It is an honour to be taking on this prestigious role in such a milestone year.

I will use it to raise the profile of the profession, to encourage new members to join the organisation and work to ensure we remain inclusive and relevant.”

James will also use his year in office to raise funds for and promote two charities: Headway, the brain injury association, and the Jeff Astle Foundation, which supports those who have suffered head injuries in sport.

Established in 1818 with 19 founders, BLS is now the largest regional law society in the UK, with more than 4,000 members drawn from law firms and barristers’ chambers across the Midlands.

The organisation is holding a year of celebrations to mark its bicentenary. These kick-started in January with a judicial parade and service at St Philip’s Cathedral. The annual Legal Awards were held in March. In May a specially commissioned book examining the history and influence of the city’s legal profession over the last two centuries will be published. A gala dinner is slated for October.

Also appointed at the AGM were Linden Thomas, solicitor and manager of the Centre for Professional Legal Education and Research manager at Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, who becomes Vice President; Inez Brown, partner and head of clinical negligence at Medical Accident Group, part of Harrison Clark Rickerbys, was named Deputy Vice President; joint honorary secretaries are Chaitali Desai, a solicitor at Weightmans LLP and Sophie Samani, associate at Shakespeare Martineau.

Inez Brown (Deputy Vice President), James Turner (President 2018-19) and Linden Thomas (Vice President)