President's Review - Nigel Lyons

Dear All


Gosh this year is now galloping by. The clocks went back last month and before long it will be Christmas.


I have certainly had an exciting few months travelling to visit a number of the local law societies.



I had a great time at the Plymouth Law Society (PLS) annual dinner at the beginning of October. It was very enjoyable to go back to the Duke of Cornwall Hotel. Returning to the hotel brought back many happy memories. I had my annual dinner there when I was the PLS President. Long before that, in the early 1970’s, I used to play in the building as a boy. One of my friends' father was the general manager. We would run up and down the stairs, slide down the banisters and have trolley races in the ballroom. Happy days!


I met professional colleagues at the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment West Country on 10 October. It was interesting to hear that none of the investment managers appeared too phased at Brexit and any risk of leaving the European Union with no deal. I was told… “All the smart money had already been invested in America!” After that I quickly went home to check my pension investments. Oh dear.


I will turn now to happier matters.


It was a pleasure to participate in the DASLS Annual Admissions Ceremony at the Exeter Guildhall on the 14th October.  I was proud to see that we have a real wealth of excellent new solicitors coming into our local profession. I wish them all every success for the future wherever they may go. Can I say a special thank you to HHJ Edward Richards and District Judge Griffiths for their attendance.



DASLS Admissions Ceremony on 14 October 2019, Exeter Guildhall

Photograph courtesy of Bridget Batchelor Photography -


I would like to congratulate those firms who do invest considerable time and resources into their local training and recruitment processes. Without this continued investment our profession will struggle to recruit and retain talent in the south west. I strongly believe that firms must continue with this not inconsiderable effort to build up their own strong “youth teams of solicitors”. Trainees really are needed to become the partners and fee earners of the future. We are all aware that recruitment and staff retention in the south west is not easy. 


We had a piece of exciting news from the ASWLS President Mel Bevan-Evans at the end of September. She has been successful with our joint South Western Law Societies’ bid to host next year's local Law Societies Conference. The date is now provisionally booked for 3rd July 2020 at the Celtic Manor.


Our In-House Lawyers’ Conference on the 17th October was also a great success. A big thank you to our speakers: Juliet Oliver SRA General Counsel, Rav Hothi The Law Society Head of Relationship Management - Midlands & Southwest, Phil Sampson Sampson Hall, Alex Fletcher Normanton Chambers, Kate Gardner Clarke Willmott. Please let us know of any topics that you would wish to be put on the agenda for next year.


Our Joint Profession’s Networking Group meeting in Exeter due to be held on the 19th November for the Bank of England South West Briefing has now been postponed due to the general election of 12 December 2019. I am sure that we are all looking forward to the stabilisation of legal and business matters as we go forward into the New Year.


If I don’t see you before the big day, then can I wish a Merry Christmas to you and yours. I hope your firms and staff have a happy and prosperous 2020.


I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.


With very best wishes,



Nigel Lyons


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