12 Jan 2012
THE new president of Plymouth Law Society is stressing the city has all the legal expertise anyone could require and urged Plymothians not to seek advice from afar.
At a time when the Legal Services Act has brought the prospect of so-called “Tesco law” looming over high street firms, Steven Hudson is using his year in office to highlight the strengths of Plymouth’s solicitors
And he said that by using local legal services it is actually helping Plymouth’s economy.
“We have some fantastic lawyers in the city,” he said. “There is great service and great value for money available from lawyers locally.
“It’s a surprise to me that people are tempted to buy legal services from distant legal facilities setting up in different parts of the country.
“There is no reason for people to go out of town. And the Plymouth lawyers will spend the money in the Plymouth economy, which will benefit everyone.”
Mr Hudson, senior partner at Bretonside-based Gard and Co, has been elected to take over the presidency from Jonathan Madge, a director at Hartnell Chanot and Partners.
A major part of his brief is to highlight the society and the city’s firms.
He stressed the example of Fastmove, a collection of 23 Plymouth law firms and 18 estate agents, set up amid the threat of so-called “call-centre conveyancing”.
“Competition between lawyers has delivered a lot of good – but can go too far,” he said.
“Change is good and competition is good, but when you have powerful players in the market it can distort things.”
He said there is now the temptation for clients to be pushed by “slick marketing” towards what he describes as “expensive and inefficient factory operations”.
“But what we can do here is much better than what can be achieved through distant factories to which people are often directed these days,” he said. “I challenge people to shop around and not be taken in by salesmen.”
Mr Hudson, a 54-year-old father of two, is the latest in a list of presidents stretching back to Henry Woollcombe in 1815.
The list contains many famous legal names including Thomas Wolferstan, in 1899, Arthur Goldberg, in 1961, and Lord Foot, in 1968, for instance.
The society, which has 350 solicitor members, exists to preserve access to justice by promoting the independence, rights, responsibilities and welfare of the city’s solicitors.
Mr Hudson stressed that those solicitors are dedicated individuals, often working for the best interests of the weak and vulnerable.
This article is copied verbatim from The Herald 25th January 2012