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Law Society chief executive resigns over slow pace of governance reform

The Law Society’s chief executive, Catherine Dixon, has resigned amid reports that she was unhappy at the slow pace of governance reform at Chancery Lane.

In a letter to council members, seen by Legal Futures, Dixon said: “It is my firm belief that the Law Society will not be perceived by its members and other key stakeholders to have changed and to be representative of solicitors and the diverse solicitor profession, without changing the way it is governed.

“The Law Society’s governance is costly (over £2m per annum not taking into account my time or my executive’s and staff time in reporting), bureaucratic and does not reflect how successful modern organisations, including membership organisations, operate.”

Dixon claimed that when the Law Society Council was given the opportunity to bring about change, “regrettably….it chose to vote against and/or delay such change” even though many members wanted to see meaningful change. She added that she failed to see how changes to governance could be completed in a timely way.

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Dixon also said that, with a hostile external environment, Chancery Lane did not have the luxury of making changes at its own pace.

Law Society president Robert Bourns said: “We are extremely grateful to Catherine for her tireless and effective work for the Law Society as chief executive. Her achievements in the last two years are numerous and include delivering a new strategy and three-year plan, building our influence and thought leadership and promoting member focus at the heart of our work. 

“I note Catherine's comments on the pace of the Governance review. It is important that we press on with changes in order to take the organisation and the profession forward. I aim to use the rest of my presidency to help drive the next stage of the review and propose further changes.

“We will be announcing plans for the recruitment of a new CEO in due course and in the meantime will focus with Catherine on the substantial work in progress.”

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