Representation of our members on the issues that are important to them
We understand that a collective voice is stronger than a lone voice. We engage in debate regarding the impact of significant legislation affecting our members and have responded to consultation papers on behalf of our members on issues ranging from Reporting Concerns to the SRA, criminal justice issues such as court closures, changes to sentencing guidance and cuts to legal aid, employment status, the Taylor Review of modern working practices and Transforming the response to domestic violence. Those relating to the changes to the SRA Handbook and regulation of the profession more broadly will have a far reaching impact on the way in which law firms are managed. Our responses are published on our website at www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk/our-members/consultation-papers
Referrals and introductions
Many BLS members receive referrals of work or recommendations from their fellow members. BLS President James Turner cites the value of the connections that can be made through involvement with the society:
“As a criminal defence specialist membership of the criminal law committee has enabled me to develop far closer relationships with competitors. Many colleagues involved with the various committees and Council engaged in other areas of the law value the ability to refer clients to me just as I make weekly referrals of clients who require advice in areas in which my firm does not practice. There is no other forum in the West Midlands which enables more comprehensive networking across the profession.”
Create a welcoming and unified legal community for members from the moment they start their legal careers, encouraging talent to qualify and stay in Birmingham
Relationships are forged at our vibrant networking events and a strong sense of community is established at the earliest opportunity. Trainee solicitors and pupil barristers are invited on qualification to a “Qualified in Birmingham” celebration ceremony.
We have a dedicated student committee which represents our student members and organises events for those considering entering the profession. We have strong links with the Birmingham Trainee Solicitors’ Society and the Birmingham Solicitors’ Group.
Promote Birmingham as a centre of legal excellence. We engage with the key decision makers around the city.
Our sell-out annual Legal Awards Ceremony is a testament to the skills and expertise of the legal community and an opportunity to celebrate the success of our members.
The city is undergoing a period of significant change and BLS has a seat at the table when decisions are being made and offers signposting opportunities through the Society. We work hard to create and develop opportunities with other organisations locally, nationally and internationally in order to retain and to bring more legal work to Birmingham.
This year we have taken our legal skills out to business, setting up a legal clinic with our members at the Custard Factory. This is one of a number of similar initiatives which is of significant benefit to our members.
Through BLS, members have the opportunity to connect with lawyers and potential clients in other jurisdictions. BLS hosts multiple trade visits, welcoming visitors and promoting Midlands based lawyers as a viable alternative to London, providing links to new markets and strengthening ties with professionals from across the globe. In recent years the Society has hosted delegations as far afield as Kazakhstan, China, Japan and Latin America.
Provide members with a peer to peer forum to engage with other lawyers and business members who have a specific interest in the legal profession
BLS provides the opportunity to discuss and debate issues affecting members through regular networking events and a host of discipline specific committees such as the dispute resolution committee, equality and diversity committee, family law committee and employment law committee. From meeting the local judiciary as a representative group to debating in a safe non-competitive environment the impact of changes to practice affecting your area of law, BLS ensures that you never feel you are facing changes to your legal business alone.
Equality, diversity and inclusion
BLS holds itself up to the highest standards and puts equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of all that it does. In 2018 the Society created the Equality and Diversity committee which is tasked with inward monitoring of the society but also in providing thought leadership within the profession. The Society actively promotes equality, inclusion and access to opportunity in the West Midlands region. We are part of the national conversation and take part in the Women’s and Men’s groups promoted by The Law Society.
Provide topical and relevant training through competitively-priced accredited seminars, conferences and workshops
BLS provides seminars that are relevant, informative and value for money. Take a look at our website for more details of what is coming up: www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk/events-calendar-2
Providing social and networking opportunities with other professions
The Society is a nationally recognised and respected organisation which attracts high level sponsorship and engages with the broader business community. The Society is also a founder member of the Joint 5 Local Law Societies ensuring our ties with business both within and beyond our region.
Offer our members the opportunity to give something back to the region
Our very successful pro bono committee raises awareness of pro bono volunteering opportunities available to our members. The committee engages with all relevant stake holders in the region and matches need with expertise. All members are welcome to attend and participate in the events. The Society provides member firms and chambers with opportunities to broaden their horizons, to become involved in the wider community and to demonstrate the benefits of the inclusion of lawyers in community based problem solving.
CSR is also a key component of our objectives. Each year the President chooses a charity and the Society holds multiple fundraising opportunities for our members to show their support. In recent years we have raised funds to support Headway – the brain injury association, The Jeff Astle Foundation, Guide Dogs, Tiny Babies, SIFA Fireside, Birmingham and Coventry Law Centres, St Basils, The Princes Trust and Acorns Children’s Hospice.
We are here to serve and engage with our membership in order to find out what you want from us. We are a friendly, approachable professional body that exists for the benefit of lawyers throughout the region. If you have suggestions of how you would like the Society to work for you please let us know: www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk/contact-us or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org You can contact us directly, or tell one of our Council members what you want to see. Click here for a list of our current Council members: www.birminghamlawsociety.co.uk/council
In conclusion, whether you are an existing member renewing your membership or a new member considering joining us, we have something to offer everyone.