President's Letter (Decembr 2009)

The Cardiff and District Law Society is facing exciting times ahead.

The recent months that I have spent as President of your Society has made it clear to me that we need to widen our horizons and consider making membership more inclusive in lots of ways.

The Society originated to embrace solicitor practitioners who were predominantly in private practice. Over time solicitors outside private practice have been welcomed into the Society and have made an extremely valuable and real contribution.

It seems to me that our membership needs to be broadened and become more inclusive. We need to encourage the many talented solicitors who are not in private practice to join our society. For example, there are those working in local government, the Welsh Assembly, health authorities and for companies or commercial organisations whose voice is not being heard. In addition, there are many, many solicitors employed in private practice whose voice is not heard.

As for Partners in private practice, they have many pressures to address in these changing times: their real concerns and views should be sought. All should be encouraged to join.

As a Society we need a better overall professional dimension.

I am conscious that a work life balance has to be struck but equally believe that the professional life balance which involves membership of our Society should be seriously considered as a real way forward as there can be very real benefits for all with an improved professional dimension.

I know that some ask themselves what the Cardiff and District Law Society has to offer them; why should we bother to join? What is the point of it all? I can understand these obvious questions but I ask you to consider whether they have sprung from a general professional malaise that has developed overtime: we are thoroughly regulated, monitored, overseen and have been criticised as never before. A lack of just appreciation and the isolation that exists has driven us into a professional shell.

One purpose of our Society is to enable members to meet others and exchange views; to learn about one another: we need to exchange views and to network more so that we can invigorate ourselves. It is from gaining a better understanding of each other that we can gain better appreciation of our problems so that ways forward can be devised.

We need to explore ways of providing a powerful collective voice so that the views of our profession within the Capital and elsewhere can be heard. This voice can comprise the views of all sectors within our membership. I am sure that those not in private practice have views that they wish to advance just as those in private practice may have different issues to be considered. The important issue for us all is that the complexion of views should be advanced for the benefit of our profession. Joining is therefore the first step.

We should enter into dialogue with other professional organisations; there is much that the Cardiff Medical Society, the Accountants or Chartered Surveyors Society and even the banks could share with us so that we gain a greater understanding of them and they with us.

We need to widen our horizons and become more rounded in our outlook and develop our professional standing and wellbeing as a result.

The Society is anxious that the opportunity to join and make things happen is not lost.

Can I encourage you to visit our website at where a membership application form can be downloaded. Alternatively email the Society’s membership secretary, Vrinda Theara at

Now if any of you have views about any of the issues I have raised please remember that you are very welcome to email me at

Since last writing, I have very much enjoyed a busy time: I attended the South Wales Society of Chartered Accountants Annual Dinner at the Cardiff Castle Banqueting Hall where I had the opportunity of meeting their President, Rupert May-Hill. I attended an equally wonderful evening with the Rhymney Valley Law Society at their Annual Dinner which was held at the Great Hall in Caerphilly Castle. Their President, Fran Edwards ensured that we all had an enjoyable evening. Fran is to be congratulated as she is the first legal executive to have been elected as President of her Society.

I attended a dinner in honour of District Judge Gerwyn Watkins’ recent retirement. The dinner was ably organised by Kieron Malloy and Declan McSorley and was held at The County Club in Cardiff which was an excellent choice to celebrate a very special occasion which I know everyone enjoyed.

I had very kind invitations to attend the West Wales Law Society’s Dinner as well as Bridgend & District Law Society’s Annual Dinner.

Needless to say that Christmas will shortly be upon us. It is a special time and so may I wish you all an occasion of great happiness.

Stuart Hutton, CDLS President


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