The Law Society has launched an £80,000 project that aims to make it a “more member-focused organisation”, Legal Futures can reveal.
Chancery Lane has hired a former head of communication campaigns at insurance giant Aviva to spearhead the work.
The move comes in the wake of December’s special general meeting, at which members unhappy with how the society was handling the criminal legal aid reforms passed a motion of no confidence in president Nick Fluck and chief executive Des Hudson.
According to a paper going to a meeting this week of its membership board, the society “acknowledges the need” to be more member focused.
The paper said: “To achieve this, it must re-engage members (re-establish trust), better communicate the value of membership of the society (corporate narrative) and, by delivering valued services and products (tailoring and targeting), give members reasons to recognise that being part of the society is an essential part of being a solicitor.”
Last month, the society’s ruling council agreed to establish a working group – comprising both staff and members of the society drawn from, among other places, the council itself – to lead this work.
To lead the group, it created a new temporary post of interim head of corporate strategy, and Marie Ennis has been appointed to the job. Ms Ennis is a senior communications professional who has mainly worked at consultancies for a range of major private and public sector clients, but in 2011/12 had the role at Aviva.
The cost of appointment Ms Ennis, seconding staff, undertaking necessary research and analysis, and producing recommendations were estimated to total around £80,000 for the six-month project.
The working group’s remit includes looking at services for non-solicitors, including family members, potential entrants to the profession, non-solicitor employees of firms and the public.
“Learning and applying lessons learned” from how the society has communicated with members over legal aid will be one of the areas of focus.
Chancery Lane is also shortly to launch ‘MyLawSociety’, which should allow members to log on to its website, personalise it and quickly find information relevant to them.