President's Review - Stephen Mahoney

My previous report for the November Newsletter was written just before the CILEx Devon branch Autumn Ball and the DASLS Somerset dinner.  Both were most enjoyable.  It was a pleasure to attend the ball hosted by Devon Branch Chair Gemma Rowe and to meet, amongst other guests, CILEx National President Philip Sherwood, DVP Craig Tickner and immediate past National President Millicent Grant.


Every aspect of the Somerset dinner held on 2nd November went as well as I was hoping it would.  Over 100 member and guests attended and everyone I spoke to appeared to be having a good time.  Denis Burn was great company and gave an entertaining insight into his role as High Sheriff of Somerset in his after dinner speech.


In mid-November, I was in Leicester for the national Local Law Societies’ Conference.  Leicester President is Bushra Ali.  When she first expressed an interest in a career in the Law, she was told she had little chance of fulfilling her ambition, being British-Asian and female.  Despite that advice, she now runs her own firm specialising in immigration and family law and has twice won the Leicester Law Society Award for Solicitor of the Year.  I find this truly inspiring.  Bushra and her team put on an excellent event both in terms of the speakers and topics covered at the conference itself, the drinks reception the evening before and the formal dinner afterwards.  The whole event was held in the historic centre of Leicester around the cathedral where the remains of Richard III have recently been reinterred.  The City has certainly made the most of the discovery of the King’s remains in 2012.  The Richard III Centre which hosted the drinks reception is an impressive modern museum incorporating the site of where the remains were unearthed and is a must visit attraction for anyone with an interest in the War of the Roses. 


With Leicester being one of the members of our County Societies’ Group, the conference also provided a convenient opportunity for a CSG meeting.  Tony Steiner and I attended for DASLS and there were representatives from Newcastle, Kent, Surrey and, of course Leicester.



L-R Jon Pitt (COO Kent), Clive Thomas (President Cardiff), Stephen Mahoney (DASLS President), Bushra Ali (Presidentn Leicester), Rachel Harefield (Senior Vice President Cardiff) and Tony Steiner (DASLS Executive Director)


The first week of December saw a flurry of presidential activity, starting with a working group meeting at Grow Marketing for the 2019 DASLS Legal Awards Dinner.  Following on from that meeting, it was gratifying to hear, just before the Christmas break, that a new headline sponsor was on board, sponsors for all 13 categories were in place and we have a full panel of 9 judges.  Anecdotal evidence from various sources says sponsorship is harder than ever to secure and we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Alice Bryan at Grow for the incredible effort she has put into achieving full sponsorship of our Awards.  To top off the good news, there were more category nominations than ever before with the newest, CILEx Member of the Year, being particularly well supported, fully justifying its inclusion for the first time. 


After the awards working party meeting , I chaired the second of my main committee meetings,  this time on home turf at the Cleeve Hotel in Wellington.  It was particularly pleasing to have Ben Butterworth, new co-chair of JLD and Gemma Rowe and Sarah Summers from CILEx in attendance, talking about closer communication and cooperation on future social events. 


Finally that week, I was at Michelmores in Exeter for a Women in Law Men’s Group meeting.  Law Society Vice President Simon Davis chaired a stimulating discussion around what is a major theme of Christina Blacklaw’s Presidential Year. 


So that is 2018 out of the way.  What does the start of 2019 hold in store?  Well for January our Awards Judging Panel will be meeting to sift through all of the nominations and to draw up a short list for each category.  I will be attending the joint meeting with the Torquay and District Medical Society with a talk by Dr Peter Moore on “Sex was not invented in the 1960s” – DASLS’ choice; the title sort of leapt out and grabbed my attention!


Finally for January, I will be attending the meeting of the DASLS College of Past Presidents as an observer.  I will get to see whether my mind’s image of the event is borne out – lunch followed by port and cigars in comfortable leather armchairs, the College cogitating over the names of some “good chaps”  (male or female) considered to have the right stuff to be approached about starting on the ladder to eventual presidency. 


As I am writing this at the very end of December, I feel it appropriate to finish this report wishing all DASLS members a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.



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