Lucy Theobald of Coodes Solicitors’ Family Team reflects on her year as President of Cornwall Law Society.
Being President of Cornwall Law Society has been a real honour. When I was officially sworn in last November, I was only the third woman to have been made President in the association’s 125-year history. I was also one of the youngest people ever to be President. I felt a huge sense of responsibility as well as a strong determination to make a difference.
One of my priorities was to make Cornwall Law Society more attractive to younger members. We have more than 300 members, all practicing within 14 miles of Cornwall. To maintain these levels, we need to keep attracting new people. I saw an opportunity to raise our profile and make membership more appealing by giving the Cornwall Law Society Annual Dinner a complete overhaul.
The Annual Dinner is the key event in the Cornwall Law Society calendar. It had been the same for years and I felt it had become stale and old fashioned. I took a risk in changing the venue to Newquay’s Headland Hotel and making the event much more lively, including having dancing for the first time. I was very nervous in the lead up to the event but it was a really great evening and we had fantastic feedback from our members, who really welcomed the changes.
Working with one of our Junior Law members, I think we have done a good job at making Cornwall Law Society more appealing to younger members. The challenge for the next President will be to ensure things stay fresh.
A key part of the role of President is representing Cornwall Law Society members at a national level. I really enjoyed meeting with representatives from the other South West law societies and lobbying the Law Society on important issues affecting the region, such as Legal Aid and changes to the Solicitors Handbook. This process taught me a lot about how the Law Society works and about the issues and challenges facing other law firms across the region. I also made lots of new friends.
I am really proud of what I achieved as President of Cornwall Law Society. I have learned a lot of new skills, which I know will help me in my legal career. To be a good President you do, of course, need the full backing of your firm and Coodes Solicitors have been very supportive over the last year.
Launceston-based lawyer John Whiting will now step up as the new President of Cornwall Law Society and I will remain on the committee for a year. My advice to him would be to make the most of it – the year goes very quickly, so put as much effort and energy into it as you can.
A member of the Coodes Solicitors’ Family Team, Lucy Theobald has particular expertise in children matters and domestic abuse cases. She is Chair of Relate Cornwall and Chair of a local refuge charity.