Law Society President gives advice to aspiring solicitors

Law Society President and alumnus Jonathan Smithers made his way back to Nottingham Law School last week to speak to students about their legal future.

Law Society President and alumnus Jonathan Smithers made his way back to Nottingham Law School last week to speak to students about their legal future.

Jonathan graduated with an LLB from Nottingham Trent Polytechnic 32 years ago and reminisced about his time in the Law Society and nights in Rock City before an inspiring speech about the value and future of the solicitors' profession.

He emphasised that the title of English solicitor is viewed as the number one legal qualification in the world, (although the New York Bar might not necessarily agree) and explained how his role in the Law Society has really highlighted the value that other countries place in the English common law system.

Quoting Eisenhower, he went on to speak about the rule of law in everyday life and what happens when this breaks down. He illustrated this with the situation in Syria and he acknowledged lawyers across the globe who put themselves in danger to uphold justice.

"Solicitors are instruments of justice – not just business people. Keep this principle at the forefront of your minds. Solicitors permeate all levels of society. Being a solicitor is a vocation. It becomes who you are and how you live your life," he said.

Now is period of dynamic change in legal services and Jonathan urged all aspiring solicitors to download The Future of Legal Services report on the Law Society website to keep up-to-date with upcoming developments and opportunities.

Being a solicitor is a vocation. It becomes who you are and how you live your life.

Law Society President, Jonathan Smithers

Once again the solicitors' profession will need to adapt to thrive, as it has done many times before. Online dispute resolution is predicted to replace the traditional high street structure, and an understanding of global business, technology or coding could prove a huge advantage to the solicitors of tomorrow.

His advice for current students was clear: "Start thinking and acting like a solicitor. Today." He encouraged LPC students and recent graduates to join the Junior Lawyers Division, attend events and make themselves heard on the issues that will affect their future, highlighting the minimum salary recommendation as a successful past campaign.

Jonathan also encouraged all students to make the most of their time here. He still displays his Nottingham Trent degree certificate proudly in his office and said how pleased he was to be able to give something back to the place that he took so much from.

He ended with some final thoughts for all those about to embark upon their legal career.

"Find something you're passionate about, that makes you want to go to work in the morning. And don't be afraid to change.

"You are entering a great profession. Set your aspirations high, build a network and in 32 years' time you might be asked back to lecture in these rooms."

Law Society President gives advice to aspiring solicitors

Published on 23 March 2016
  • Category: Nottingham Law School

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