Yorkshire Law Society: Honourable histories

Yorkshire Law Society: Honourable histories

Pamela Precious provides a snapshot of the Yorkshire Law Society

The Yorkshire Law Society traces its history back to 1786 and the publication of the following announcement: “Many Gentlemen being of the Opinion that General Meetings, to be occasionally held, will be of public utility and productive of useful Regulations; and a Bill in Parliament is intended which may materially affect the Profession, a General Meeting of ATTORNIES and SOLICITORS resident in the County and City of York and of such others as attend the Assizes, is requested to be held at the house of MR. RINGROSE in York on TUESDAY EVENING next, the 21st March, instant, precisely at SEVEN o’clock to consider of the Heads of the proposed Bill, and fix upon a proper Plan for establishing General Meetings in the future.”

The Yorkshire Law Society was thus established at the meeting convened, during the reign of George III and the days of William Pitt ‘the Younger’. It is therefore the second oldest of the now numerous regional law societies in England and Wales.

Despite our title of ‘the Yorkshire Law Society’, we only cover York and the immediate surrounding area.

Our president changes annually at the annual general meeting, which is usually held in April. I have been associated with the Yorkshire Law Society for the whole of my legal career, initially being involved with the young solicitors group and then becoming the secretary of the Yorkshire Law Society’. It was a great honour to take over as president in April last year.

Yorkshire Law Society

Pamela Precious is president of the Yorkshire Law Society

Our presidents choose a charity to support for their year—I chose the Huntington’s Disease Association. So far, we have raised more than £3,600 for the benefit of the charity. Our events have included a ball in June and a triathlon in July. The president prior, Peter Kay, introduced the idea of the triathlon and it has been a huge success. Individuals and tag teams compete in the event in an effort to ‘beat the president’. As I am not an athlete I was lucky enough to have the support of Will Kay, who has competed at a European level and so was the one we all set out to beat. Will was too good for any of us, but it was an excellent morning.

We also had a lovely evening doing the 10k Legal Walk in May. It was a great opportunity to see parts of York that I had never seen before. There was an excellent turnout and a good opportunity to meet up with friends and colleagues, some of whom I had not met before. It is an event that we will all look forward later in 2018.

Our annual dinner recently took place at the Merchant Adventurers Hall. We are very lucky to have such a wonderful venue in York—its history goes back an amazing 660 years. Catherine Dixon, who was until January, CEO of the Law Society, was kind enough to join us and gave a very interesting speech.

We are planning a more informal evening in March. Instead of wine tasting, we are going to give gin and vodka tasting a go—it should be a fun Friday night!
Every year is slightly different with our social and other events. The dinner always takes place in November but then events are planned by the president and the social sub-committee. It does mean that we can look forward to lots of different events.

The Yorkshire Law Society is supported by our administrator, Trish Leach, who does a wonderful job at keeping us all organised and enthused. The council meets regularly and we have excellent support from many local firms. York also has an active young lawyers division and its representative joins our council meetings. As a society we continually strive to increase our members (currently around 160) and find ways to support and interest them.

This article originally appeared in issue 150 of Leeds & Yorkshire Lawyer

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Mark Dugdale

Mark is the Editor of Yorkshire Legal. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached by emailing mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk