President's Review - Nigel Lyons

After a truly magnificent dinner at Exeter Cathedral on the 4th April Stephen Mahoney has passed the reins over to me.



I was very proud to accept Chris Hart’s kind invitation two years ago to be nominated as Deputy Vice President of this Society. As a past President of Plymouth Law Society I knew the strength in depth this Society has. After a personal career move that took me up the A38 from Plymouth to Exeter I have practised now in Devon’s county town for almost 5 years. Over the last 2 years, since I accepted this honour to be your President, I have been immersing myself in the ways of this Society.



I must thank Monique Bertoni and Tony Steiner, ably assisted by Harry Martin, for all their help at Aston Court. The figureheads of this Society, Honorary Secretary Chris Hart and Honorary Treasurer Richard Adams, have also made me most welcome. I am sure I speak for the Society en masse in saying how glad we are to see Chris fit and well again and back in harness.


It is also reassuring to know that there are the members of the main Committee diligently working to represent the interests of the wide variety of specialisms of the membership and maintain links with our associated twin bars around Europe. If only this Society had handled the Brexit negotiations all would be settled by now I am sure. Also, in the case of the Social Sub-Committee, considerable work has taken place to ensure that there are opportunities for us all to keep in touch and have fun at the same time.


I am pleased to have been able to work with Paul Kelly this past year after he became the incoming Vice President. A warm welcome to Adrian Richards, Practice Director at Boyce Hatton, who takes over as the Society’s Deputy Vice President. I am pleased to see that the future of our Society going forward will be in good hands.


Returning to the recent Annual Dinner, I would like to congratulate Stephen on a magnificent year in office. He has gathered a few air miles I understand and has spread the word about our Society to many parts of this country and beyond. With Brexit in full swing, more than ever, the professionalism and skill of our members will be called upon to assist in the legal representation of our south west clients in all the developments that lie ahead. But enough of the B word….


As a busy practitioner I know how difficult it is to mix business with the pleasure of supporting the law society both locally and nationally. My principal in my articles, Sir Anthony Holland (himself a Past President of the National Law Society), first encouraged me to participate in local Law Society matters. In times of crisis (I well remember past legal aid cuts) it is incumbent upon the profession to have the ability to speak as one and have the influence so as its voice is heard on a national level. That is why I do ask senior partners and management boards to allow their young lawyers the work time to continue to maintain a strong local law society. All work and no play makes a dull lawyer.  I contend that by allowing our lawyers time to come to Society meetings and to express their views to their peers that is in fact a form of real marketing for employers. Whilst that time may be seen by some as lost chargeable hours I believe, in the long run, it can make a vital contribution to an individual’s development and their own firm’s future.


Like Stephen I plan to spend some time travelling to meet colleagues here and abroad. There is a full calendar of events to come in the year ahead and I hope you and your firms will participate in events where that is at all possible. This Society is only as strong as its membership and having met some 480 people at the Annual Dinner I have every confidence that being a member of our Society is as valid as it ever was. For those firms who did not participate please come along next year, you will meet businesses who can be seen as “target clients” and who knows you may get a referral or if not you could do even better and make a friend.


Your thoughts and views are important to me so please do not hesitate to accost me,  telephone or email me if there is a subject or cause that you feel warrants our Society’s  focus. I look forward to seeing and talking to as many of you as I can in the next year.


I am sure there will be plenty for me to report back to you all on by the time the next newsletter is published in the summer. If April is your firm's year-end, enjoy the start of your new financial year as we all work to achieve our aims and targets for the future.


Nigel Lyons

President 2019-2020

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