Law associations

The Association of Child Abuse Lawyers (ACAL) exists for the benefit of lawyers, experts and other professionals involved in the field of obtaining compensation for the physical, sexual or emotional abuse of children and adults abused in childhood, as well as the mentally handicapped. The Association began in late 1997. The site has recently been redesigned and updated and now contains information on legal aspects of this topic, training courses, news, group actions and (for members) details of an extensive range of significant cases and articles. Cases can be referred to members via the organisation.

AvMA (Action against Medical Accidents) is an independent charity, mainly consisting of individual firms, which promotes better patient safety and justice for people who have been affected by a medical accident. The site includes a directory of firms of solicitors they have assessed and approved.

Adjudication Society is a not-for-profit Society promoting resolution of construction disputes by means of adjudication. It was formed so that the construction industry might benefit from the body of experience and case law associated with the introduction of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996, the growth in adjudication by means of Expert Determination and Dispute Boards and the increasing popularity of the New Engineering Contract. The Society’s purpose is to encourage and develop adjudication as a method of resolving construction disputes (without denouncing other procedures, such as arbitration and conciliation) and to provide a regular and informal forum at which adjudication problems and practices may be discussed. There are a number of branches around the country which put on meetings and events. There are also a variety of papers, talks newsletters and case reports on the site.

Agricultural Law Assocation (ALA) was founded in 1975 to provide a forum for professionals serving agriculture lawyers, surveyors, accountants, bankers, farm business consultants and others to support each other in their specialisms. The membership of over 800 includes some of the leading practitioners in rural affairs in the UK and Europe today. ALA is consulted by government on legislative and policy changes and, by maintaining its non-party political stance, provides impartial practical comment on proposed measures. It is also affiliated to the CEDR the French acronym for the European Council on Rural Law which is a body recognised on rural law by the European Commission, and provides members with a ready-made contact network throughout Europe, not just in the EU.

Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS) was started in 1997 for lawyers specialising in contentious trust and probate work. The aims are to provide a forum for specialists to exchange experience, know-how and an appreciation of the law and statutes in this specialist area; to hold seminars, conferences and meetings for the discussion of contentious trust and probate issues; to promote the enhancement of the specific skills specialisation and expertise in this area by the provision of education and training and, where possible, to enable representations to be made to the appropriate governmental and judicial bodies in relation to contentious trust and probate issues. Currently online are the ACTAPS newsletter, the code of conduct, membership directory, and press releases.

Association of Lawyers for Children exists to promote justice for children and young people within the legal system in England and Wales, to campaign in favour of establishing properly funded legal mechanisms to enable all children and young people to have access to justice, to provide high quality legal training focusing on the needs of lawyers concerned with cases relating to the welfare of children and to exchange information and views. There are over 600 members.

Association of Law Costs Draftsmen was founded in 1977 with the object of promoting the status and interests of the profession of law costs draftsmen generally and the maintenance of the highest professional standards. The main aim is to promote and foster a proper appreciation of the contribution made by law costs draftsmen within the legal profession. Further aims include the exchange of ideas and information with other legal bodies and regulation of the conduct of law costs draftsmen.

The Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML) works on issues of importance and significance to Muslims in the UK as well as highlighting issues that affect Muslims internationally. The main aim of AML is to provide a platform where such issues can be introduced, debated and procedures set in place to bring about desired results. This aim has been implemented by means of seminars and conferences, as well as through the AML magazine The Muslim Lawyer.

Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) is dedicated to improving the service provided to victims of accident and medical negligence. Founded in April 1990 by a group of barristers and solicitors who wished to improve the services provided for victims of personal injury, APIL has grown to become the trusted organisation in the promotion, encouragement and development of expertise in personal injury law. APIL has created networks, forged links and uses its 4,700 strong voice to promote the rights of injured people and fight to ensure access to justice.

Association of Pensions Lawyers is an association established and run by lawyers specialising in pensions in the UK. It is non-profit making. Its main aims are to promote awareness of the importance of the role of law in the provision of pensions and to operate as a forum for discussion and education amongst pension lawyers. APL publishes copies of the APL seminar talks which cover topical pensions law issues and include links to many useful pensions sites.

The Association of Women Barristers aims to represent, support and further the interests of women barristers, to provide professional, business and social activities, to offer educational courses, lectures and seminars to improve opportunities for women barristers, to develop and foster contacts and cooperation with women lawyers practising both nationally and internationally on issues of mutual concern and to bring about such contact with and consultation between the Association and any other organisation, institution, government department, professional body or individual.

The Association of Women Solicitors is an official group of the Law Society. Membership is open to any woman solicitor or trainee who is a Law Society member or associate member. They aim to articulate and represent the view of women solicitors, to promote women’s interests in the profession, to campaign on issues important to women solicitors and to actively oppose discrimination against women solicitors.

Bar Association for Local Government and the Public Service is a direct successor of the Society of Local Government Barristers, which had been in existence since about 1945, and of the Bar Association for Local Government, which had been formed in 1977. Membership is open to all barristers employed in Local Government and the Public Sector (including those in the civil service and in the armed forces) and bar students.

Barristers’ Benevolent Association exists to support, help and comfort those members of the Bar in England and Wales and their families and dependants who are in need, in distress or in difficulties. During the recent past they have helped barristers and their families in every circuit, often saving not only dignity but careers.

The Black Lawyers Directory (BLD) is a directory being set up by solicitor Debo Nwauzu to highlight, promote and champion diversity within the legal profession and also to create a dynamic forum of information, career development and network opportunity where associations can be formed and information shared. Debo says “I hope that the Directory can be an effective tool for all organisations when formulating or reviewing their Equality and Diversity/Anti-Discrimination policies especially on recruitment and the diversity of the lawyers or organisation they instruct or intend to instruct. It will also be an important tool and mechanism for lawyers, legal recruiters, job seekers, the public and those interested in pursuing careers in the law both within the UK and internationally. BLD will profile, free of charge, all individual black and ethnic minority lawyers and all organisations with at least one black and ethnic minority lawyer. Other lawyers who subscribe to and support BLD’s aims and objectives will also be profiled.” At present, the site is just a holding page with the aims and objectives but a “flyer” can be downloaded and also the registration forms for lawyers, organisations and service providers.

Black Solicitors Network was founded in 1995 to improve the profile of black Solicitors; to share experiences; knowledge and information with a view to providing a better quality of legal service; and to assist legal practitioners in running their practices, particularly in relation to the use of information technology. Since then, the Group has met on a regular basis. It has hosted speakers who have addressed the Group on a variety of issues. It has lobbied the Law Society for better representation for black solicitors and provided support to its members in the running of their practices. In January 1996, the Group was registered in The Law Society’s Practice Advice Service.

British & Irish Legal Education Technology Association (BILETA) was formed in 1986 with the primary objective of promoting technology in legal education throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (BIALL) was formed in 1969 to represent effectively the interests of all those involved in law librarianship.

British Insurance Law Association (BILA) draws its membership from Insurers, Insurance Brokers and other intermediaries, Academic Lawyers, Solicitors and Barristers. BILA is also the British Chapter of the Association International de Droit des Assurances (AIDA) and is an active participant in its quadrennial world congress.

British-Italian Law Association is designed to provide mutual interest and information for lawyers in the two countries.

British-German Jurists Association (BGJA) is a group of several hundred lawyers and other professionals interested in British-German legal practice. Membership includes solicitors, barristers, judges, lecturers, notaries, diplomats, members of chambers of commerce and bankers. The group aims to promote in Britain the study and knowledge of German Law and the German legal system; to encourage and facilitate the education of British and German lawyers in the study and practice of German and British law; to co-operate with the Deutsch-Britische Juristenvereinigung to arrange lectures and seminars in the U.K. and Germany and to cultivate personal and professional relations between members of the profession in both countries.

City of London Law Society acts as the Citys local Law Society and represents the professional interests of City solicitors, who make up 15% of the profession in England and Wales, by commenting on matters of law and practice and by lobbying extensively on the issues and challenges facing the profession. The Society is also The City of London Solicitors Company, which is a City Livery Company. The Company reflects the history and tradition of the City and its institutions, but it is also a modern professional organisation, promoting the interests of solicitors in the City of London.

The Civil Court Users Association exists to represent the interests of organisations that use the Civil Courts in England and Wales. The Association serves its members by lobbying the Department of Constitutional Affairs and the Court Service on litigation matters relevant to the credit industry and is focussed on improving the service provided by the Courts for Court Users. The CCUA acts as a focal point for communication between its members, the DCA and the Court Service. Regular regional meetings allow the members to raise and discuss issues which are fed back to the National Council which in turn holds regular liaison meetings with the Court Service. The members of the Association are organisations and individuals that use, or have an interest in the operation of, the Civil Courts in England and Wales. They also offer CPD courses to their members.

Clarity is the International Movement for Plain Legal Language, hosted by Solicitors Adler & Adler. There is a journal, a set of seminars, and occasional meetings.

Commerce & Industry Group (C&I) is the sector of the Law Society which represents lawyers working within companies and other organisations. C&I aims to assist and promote in-house lawyers by the provision of advice, training and information relevant to their needs. In addition, C&I Regional Groups organise social events which allow lawyers, to meet and interact with colleagues in similar positions and create their own personal support networks.

The Commonwealth Lawyers’ Association (CLA) is an international organisation which exists to promote and maintain the rule of law throughout the Commonwealth by ensuring that an independent and efficient legal profession, with the highest standards of ethics and integrity, serves the people of the Commonwealth. Lawyers have much to learn from the comparative experience of other Commonwealth countries and share substantial common ground in their legal systems, education and practice. In the pursuit of these objectives, the CLA participates in a wide range of activities including advocacy, undertaking research projects, organising the biannual Commonwealth Law Conference and providing services to our members. The 2012 conference will be held from 19 – 22 April 2012 in Sydney.

The Conveyancing Association (CA) founded in 2010, is the membership body for the specialist conveyancer. It is the only trade body in the residential property sector which specifically represents the interests of both licensed conveyancers and solicitors firms in the UK who fall into the category of ‘Serious Conveyancers’. Since the launch, the CA has developed a significant presence in the sector and has expanded its membership of like-minded firms to 53. Its members carry out over two thirds (67%) of all UK mortgaging work and 15% of all UK property transactions. The CA is a not-for-profit membership association of licensed conveyancers and solicitors firms whose objectives are to improve the experience for the home moving public, to encourage greater collaborative working as it leads to greater profit and efficiency, to take a fresh and innovative approach to that process, and to raise standards and co-operation with all others involved in pursuit of those objectives.

Copyright Association of Ireland was formed by a group of people who have an interest in copyright law (whether as legal practitioners, creators of copyright works or as academics). It aims to promote informed debate on copyright, awareness of copyright among users of copyright works, creators of copyright works and the public generally, to examine legislative measures having effect on copyright and to promote informed debate and awareness of copyright by holding conferences and seminars.

Criminal Defence Solicitors Union is an association of criminal defence practitioners who have banded together to fight this Government’s proposed great experiment with the criminal justice system using price competitive tendering. The CDSU campaigns to secure a real future for criminal defence firms, which, long before the emergence of the Legal Services Commission or Department for Constitutional Affairs, made our criminal defence system work. That system is now in a fragile and deteriorating state.

Criminal Law Solicitors Association represents criminal practitioners throughout England and Wales. Membership of the Association is open to any solicitor – prosecution or defence – and to court clerks, qualified or trainee – involved with, or interested in, the practice of criminal law. Although primariy a membership organisation, there are some resources available to non-members, including for example, an LCCSA Guidance Note on “The dangers of clients using mobile phones in custody to contact solicitors”, a Guide to Appropriate Adults and a video called “Going to Court – A step by step guide to being a witness”. It is possible to search for a CLSA member solicitor by area (postcode), by name (of the solicitor or of the firm) or by the court. There is a news section which covers current campaings.

Deaf Lawyers UK covers issues relating to Deaf lawyers, as well as Deaf issues within the legal system. The website was set up by a group of Deaf solicitors, barristers, law students and people trying to qualify as lawyers. It aims to respond to access issues, publicise specialised information and raise awareness of issues Deaf people face ?ithin the legal system. The site also aims to bring Deaf lawyers together, and to reach out to others who may not be aware of their rights. There is a strong international element to the site with links to similar groups in the USA and elsewhere. The site includes a Deaf Blawg. This is updated frequently and includes contributions from a number of people. Prime topics appearing so far are immigration, citizenship and asylum, and special problems for deaf people in these contexts, covered generally, but not entirely, from a legal point of view.

Dublin Solicitors Bar Association (DSBA) was set up in 1938 by a group of solicitors who identified the need for an Association of practising solicitors to reflect the views of those practising throughout Dublin and to represent their interests. At that time the number of solicitors throughout Dublin numbered no more than 355 and throughout the country a mere 789 as compared with the three thousand solicitors in Dublin alone today and nearly seven thousand solicitors throughout the country. It is purely and simply a representational body (not the Law Society) – more a “trade union” for solicitors to lobby for the benefit of members and the betterment of the Society.

The Education Law Association (ELAS) was founded in 1991 to support the advancement of education for the public benefit from pre-school through primary, secondary, further, higher and adult education. There is a paper on the site called “A review of recent disability discrimination and SEN cases heard in the courts, at SENDIST and by the Local Government Ombudsman”.

Employment Lawyers Association, started in 1992, is open to qualified lawyers, both barristers and solicitors, practising in employment law in the UK and organisations engaged in the practice of employment law.

European Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) is concerned with the co-operation of women lawyers from all member states of the European Union. Its intermediate aim is to bundle up their specific expertise in monitoring law and politics seen from the angle of gender. Long-term target is to build up a women lawyers association acting on the European level as a pressure-group to enhance equality by means of law, as for instance by giving expert opinions to and by lobbying political institutions, by proposing and even outlining drafts for European directives, by bringing test cases to the European Court of Justice, by informing and empowering women to claim their rights, by campaigning etc. Target groups are women lawyers and women lawyers organizations whose major concern is to enhance equal opportunities by means of law.

The European Young Bar Association (EYBA) is a non-profit making, multinational young lawyers association founded on 23rd May 1993 in Prague. The group now represents the interests of over 200,000 young lawyers and is the world’s largest young lawyers group. The group was established to encourage links between and to promote the interests and welfare of young lawyers throughout geographical Europe. Membership of the EYBA is open to any representative young lawyers association in a city or area within the geographical region of Europe, to associate members (i.e. stagiares, trainees) and to individuals. There is a magazine provided online, covering topical legal subjects, particularly those which concern young lawyers and showing how the issues of the day will shape multinational professional services, relevant to all lawyers, irrespective of jurisdiction. You can register for the magazine by contacting Ben Rigby.

Family Law Association of Scotland has been in existence since 1989. Membership of the Association consists of members of the legal profession in Scotland with extensive experience, specialisation or interest in Family Law. The aims of the Association are to promote public awareness of the positive contribution that the legal profession has to make in Family Law, to set up training courses to encourage and promote professional expertise, to act as a network for the exchange of information, and to develop a set of publicly acknowledged guidelines for its member Societies which will encourage the sensitive, efficient and economic handling of disputes and reaching solutions which are fair to all members of the family.

Family Mediators Association offers trained mediators to help all couples facing separation or divorce to reach decisions about dealing with children, property and finance. Family mediation is a voluntary process by which couples in dispute, particularly those going through separation or divorce, are helped to deal with arrangements for their future.

Financial Services Lawyers Association (FSLA) provides a forum for the open exchange of views and the dissemination of knowledge and ideas in financial services law and regulation. It also aims to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge and ideas, to further members’ education and training, to encourage the involvement of students, graduates, trainees, pupils and junior lawyers and to foster co-operation between the various financial services stakeholders, including practitioners, academics, industry, regulators and government.

Forum of Insurance Lawyers. To quote from its own description “FOIL is not a mouth-piece for the insurance industry: it is a mouthpiece for all lawyers, solicitors and legal executives, who act for insurance companies. Where there is a conflict of view between insurers and their legal professionals then it is FOIL’s job to represent the interests of the lawyers concerned.

Group for Solicitors with Disabilities (GSD) was established in 1989 to bring to the fore the abilities and aspirations of solicitors with disabilities. The group aims to provide a forum which will enable solicitors with disabilities to put forward their concerns to The Law Society, government departments and the profession, and to others who have the power to affect the way that they are trained and the way that they work. The group also provides events for members and the site provides news of developments and research.

Home Information Pack Action Group (HIPAG) is a group of High Street Solicitors intending to obtain a high degree of control over the domestic conveyancing market and thereby help secure their futures. HIPAG already has over 80 member firms, stretching from Cornwall to Cumbria. They intend to have a total of over 500 members (solicitors and estate agents combined) by the end of 2005. As it says on the site “The Housing Act 2004 is soon going to determine how the buying and selling of property is carried out. Home Information Packs (HIPs) will have to be in place before a property can be marketed. Those estate agents and solicitors who can supply the quickest, most comprehensive and competitively priced HIPs will be the ones who will win the lion’s share of the work available.” HIPAG intents to become a “SHIP”, a Specialist Home Information Pack supplier and believes it will be able to compete with any other pack supplier in the market place including Rightmove and OneSearch Direct. Membership fees for solicitors to join HIPAG start at £40 a month for four partner firms or less and £50 per month for a five partner firms or more. The group has been set up by Rob Hailstone, who has been a residential conveyancer for 25 years.

The Human Rights Lawyers Association is open to solicitors, barristers, judges, legal executives, in-house lawyers, government lawyers, legal academics, pupils, trainees and students who have an interest in human rights law.

Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) is the professional body for Chartered Secretaries. Chartered Secretaries work as company secretaries, share registrars, charity secretaries, senior managers in local and central government, educational institutions and hospitals, and in many other positions, in all sectors of the economy. Founded in 1891, The Institute has 44,000 Members and 28,000 students in over 70 countries.

Institute of Legacy Management promotes professional standards in legacy administration and provides consultancy, training and support services to its members. Currently, Members represent over 250 UK charities, receiving half of the 1+ billion bequeathed to voluntary organisations every year. There are a fact sheets on the site, covering topics such as Capital Gains Tax, Ex-Gratia Payments and the Royal Sign Manual Direction and there is a database of former charity names and addresses in the UK, useful for lawyers finding themselves with a long-standing will where either (or both) the name or address of the charitable organisation may be out of date. Together with the Law Society, they have recently published a booklet called ‘Charities as Beneficiaries’.

International Bar Association (IBA) has 16,000 individual members in 183 countries. It is based in London. Grouped into three Sections -Business Law, Legal Practice, and Energy & Natural Resources Law – more than 60 specialist Committees provide members with access to leading experts and up to date information as well as top-level professional development and network-building opportunities through high quality publications and world-class Conferences. The IBA’s Human Rights Institute works across the Association, helping to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

The Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM) is a not for profit organization dedicated to the education, support and promotion of excellence for everyone working in the legal finance and management sector. They offer professional qualifications, training seminars and on-going support to assist and enable members to remain up to date with current law practice management and legal finance. The ILFM have been serving the legal profession for over 30 years and they assist over 2,500 members every year. As well as a bi-monthly publication called ABACUS, they provide an online classified section for jobs available for all site visitors to view as well as an extensive online vacancies section which can only be viewed by members.

Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association is the UK’s professional association of lawyers and academics practicing in or concerned about immigration, asylum and nationality law. ILPA now has more than 1,200 members including lawyers, advice workers, academics and law students. It is regularly consulted by the Government on key issues relating to immigration, refugee a nd nationality law. Membership is by application supported by two references and subject to an annual membership fee. It is only open to persons subject to a professional disciplinary body.

Institute of Paralegals aims to act as a focal point for the fast-developing paralegal profession, to encourage thedevelopment of the paralegal profession, to develop professional support services for paralegals and to represent the views of paralegals to government and other interested parties. ‘Paralegal’ is the general professional description for non-lawyers (i.e. people who are not solicitors or barristers) who work in, or with, the law – regardless of their job title. Most paralegals are employed as administrators, managers, clerks, etc. The site has information on becoming a paralegal, information on courses, recruitment and careers, and information on initiatives and news of the legal world.

Institute of Legal Secretaries and PAs was founded in 1990 to promote the excellence and professional recognition of Legal Secretaries and PAs. They are a professional organisation with Students and Members throughout the UK and overseas. The Institute provides nationally recognised qualifications and helps people with their legal secretarial careers by giving advice, support and career guidance. The Legal Secretaries Diploma course provides the legal knowledge and skills needed to work as a Legal Secretary. There are evening classes in London throughout the year and also Distance Learning available.

Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society (previously the Trainee Solicitors Group) was set up in January 2008 as a specific division within the Law Society to provide Junior Lawyers with support, advice, information and networking opportunities. They represent all student members of the Law Society enrolled through the SRA, trainees, and solicitors with up to five years’ active PQE. They also represent Junior Lawyers’ views through lobbying and campaigns both internationally and in the UK. The JLD Community benefits include: a dedicated website, a freephone telephone helpline service, careers advice and planning services, social and networking events held nationally and locally, competitively priced and accredited continuing professional development training and the opportunity to influence the future of the profession.

JUSTICE is an all party, law reform and human rights organisation working to improve the legal system and the quality of justice by promoting human rights, improving the legal system and access to justice, improving criminal justice, and raising standards of EU justice and home affairs. Justice has also set up a separate site called The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights which was proclaimed in December 2000 and incorporated as Part Two of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe on 18 June 2004. This is the first formal EU document to combine and declare all the values and fundamental rights (economic and social as well as civil and political) to which EU citizens should be entitled.

JUSTICE is the well known and respected human rights and law reform charity described above, and now there is also a JUSTICE student human rights network. Launched a year ago, the group is aimed at creating a lively, interactive network for all those studying the law who are interested in human rights. The mailing list for the network now apparently stands at 855, many of whom forward the emails and bulletins onto other students, friends, colleagues, etc. They have now published four electronic bulletins, held four very successful seminars at the Guardian Newsroom and have two more planned for November, and they are also aiming to put on a big conference in the spring of next year. The latest bulletin, sent out this week, is here. One particular feature of the site is a very comprehensive list of links to resources and organisations involved with human rights and covering Asylum, Criminal Justice, Equality, EU Justice and Home Affairs, Human Rights, International Human Rights, Legal Systems and Privacy.


LawCare gives health support and advice to Solicitors and Barristers and their families and colleagues on alcohol problems, depression, stress and drugs. There are articles and also links to other bodies involved in these areas of concern.

Law Management Section of the Law Society is a forum for the exchange of the latest ideas and information across the spectrum of management disciplines. It is open to all solicitors and those involved ?n law firm management. The group provides a newsletter, seminars and discounts on various publications and intends to be a useful source of information generally.

LawWorks is the operating name of the Solicitors Pro Bono Group (SPBG) – an independent charity with a mission to support, promote and encourage a commitment to pro bono across the solicitors’ profession. LawWorks aims to increase the delivery of free legal advice to individuals and communities in need. Their new site provides information on a number of initiatives, particularly to provide free legal advice to community and voluntary organisations and an initiative to get students involved in pro bono work at an early stage. There are various ways on the site to match volunteers with areas of need.

Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship. Originally founded in 1852, in London, as the Lawyers’ Prayer Union, the Lawyers Christian Fellowship has grown to become a national organisation with around 1300 members at every stage of the legal profession. There is a special section for students and a set of links to other organisations relating both to legal and to religious sites.

Lawyers for Liberty – see under Liberty, below. is a website designed to help parents who work in the legal profession. It has been set up by two solicitors, one who specialised in commercial law and the other from a criminal defence background. They decided to set up the website to provide a means of communication for mothers and fathers alike, working in the public and private sector. It is for inhouse lawyers, barristers in chambers, paralegals, members of the judiciary as well as solicitors. Their goal is to provide a community through a forum, a blog and shared comment in combining the roles of parent and lawyer in the modern age.

Legal Action Group (LAG) is the national, independent charity which campaigns for equal access to justice for all members of society and supports lawyers who share that aim. It is now 25 years old,

Legal Aid Practitioners Group represents over 800 firms of High Street Solicitors, committed to legal aid work. There is news on legal aid developments and information on lobbying, meetings and events.

The Legal Education & Training Group acts as a think tank and pressure group on behalf of its nationwide members (120+ and rising – of all sizes and practice areas), on training and professional development issues and in identifying developing and promoting best practice in legal training.

Legal Practice Management Association (LPMA) was founded 5 years ago with the intention of providing a supportive networking forum for the dissemination of information to those involved in, or seeking involvement in, legal practice management. Membership now exceeds 50. The Association holds on average 10 events per year on topics relevant to the legal sector. Events usually take the form of evening sessions with guest speakers.

Liberty (previously the NCCL) is the major independent human rights organisation which works to defend and extend rights and freedoms in England and Wales. Founded in 1934, it is the largest organisation of its kind in Europe. One of their functions is to pursue test cases through the English Courts and then the ECHR; there are details of these cases on the site. They also lobby Government and inform the media of important issues. There is also a particular section for Lawyers called Lawyers for Liberty. They run courses and there is an important series of courses on Human Rights and particular aspects of law running over the Autumn – see here for details, as well as the Liberty site itself. The courses are run with specialist chambers, e.g. 2 Garden Court and 39 Essex Street.

London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association? was founded in 1948 for Solicitors who practise in and around the Greater London area. Included are Crown Prosecutors and self employed advocates. The society aims to encourage and maintain the highest standards of advocacy and practice in the Criminal Courts in and around London; to participate in discussions on developments in the criminal process; to represent and further the interests of the Members on any matters which may affect Solicitors who practise in the Criminal Courts; and to improve, develop and maintain the education and knowledge of those actively concerned with the Criminal Courts, including those who are in the course of their training. There are consultation papers on the site and links to legal bodies in the general crime area.

Magistrates Association supports magistrates who want to keep their skills up to date and want the magistracy’s voice to be heard. With over 80% of magistrates as members, they are the only independent organisation in England and Wales advocating on behalf of the magistracy. They are fully governed and funded by our members. They support local and national networking, provide free training and guidance and represent the magistracy at the highest levels of government.

Motor Accident Solicitors Society (MASS) is a non-profit making organisation set up by solicitors specialising in road accidents and compensation claims. Members are bound by a charter setting minimum service standards. The site offers extensive information on what do do if you have an accident, how to make a claim and how fee insurance works. You can locate a local member of the society from the site.

Medico-Legal Society, which aims to promote Medico-Legal knowledge in all its aspects. Membership of the Society includes subscription to the Medico-Legal Journal, the Official Journal of the Society.

National Association of Paralegals caters for unadmitted support staff in Solicitors’ offices. They provide a professional career progression with qualifications obtained through examinations and assessment (courses run by FE colleges throughout the country) and also put on short vocational courses, seminars and workshops.

Notaries’ Society, the representative society for the 900 or so Notaries’ Public practising in England and Wales outside Central London. There is information about notaries and a search process to find one in any particular area.

Pan-European Organisation of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) aims to develop co-operation and networking of personal injury lawyers within Europe and to promote access to the legal system for consumers suffering personal injury. It is based on APIL as well as other individual lawyers across Europe.

Probates Section of the Law Society provides support to solicitors and other lawyers in England and Wales whose work involves probate, inheritance tax, elderly client advice, wills, trusts, enduring power of attorneys and related property law. The site includes news and events as well as providing information for members of the group.

Property Litigation Association (PLA) The PLA is a members’ organisation for professionals specialising in all aspects of commercial, residential and agricultural property litigation. PLA exists to promote specialist property litigation skills within the property industry, to provide a network for the exchange of information among members, to promote and encourage education and training in property litigation and to develop a public voice of property litigation with a media profile and a lobbying capacity. The association provides conferences and workshops and works closely with a number of organisations to improve the law. The site includes news of education and training and law reform, relevant case reviews and articles.

Resolution (previously Solicitors Family Law Association) is an association of over 5,000 solicitors who agree to follow a Law Society recommended Code of Practice which essentially aims to deal with matters in a way designed to preserve peoples dignity and encourage them to reach agreement. The site provides a searchable directory of members and also an extensive set of fact sheets on family law topics. S

Scottish Law Agents Society (SLAS) is the largest voluntary association of Scottish Solicitors and represents the interests of the profession, often providing the alternative voice to that of the Law Society of Scotland. They respond to Consultation Papers, comment on proposed legislation and have regular meetings with decision makers in the regulation of the profession. They publish the Scottish Law Gazette 6 times a year (much of which is online), run CPD events throughout Scotland provide social events throughout the year.

Scottish Legal Action Group (SCOLAG) promotes equal access to justice in Scotland. The Group seeks to improve and advance Scots law for the benefit of those members of society who are economically, socially, or otherwise disadvantaged.

Social Housing Law Association (SHLA) was formed in late 2005 by a group of housing professionals and lawyers who saw the need for a forum where ideas and information could be exchanged and discussed. SHLA is run by a committee of housing professionals, solicitors and barristers.

Society of Advocates in Aberdeen exists to promote professional expertise and standards amongst members of the legal profession in and around Aberdeen, to foster rapport amongst them and their standing in the community, and to provide facilities towards those ends. Its history goes back hundreds of years, but it has its feet firmly in the 21st century. The Society offers its members a private law library, conveniently close to the courts, and a quiet place to work away from the distractions of the office; as well as having an extensive collection of books and law reports, the library has wi-fi broadband internet access and a computer for those who do not carry their own technology.

Society for Computers and Law – the largest national society covering these topics. The SCL offers conferences, local groups, specialist meetings, a journal and, on the web page, legal links and news pages.

Society of Construction Law, founded in 1983, works to promote for the public benefit education, study and research in the field of construction law and related subjects (including adr, arbitration and adjudication), both in the UK and overseas. The Society has over 1,300 members from all sectors of the construction industry. There is a newsletter, information about events and links to construction-related web sites.

Society of Asian Lawyers (“SAL”), formed in 1990, is the UK’s largest independent legal society. Members are from a cross section of the legal community; partners in large City firms, principally London based; partners practising in the provinces; barristers; assistant lawyers; trainees; executives and students. About fifty per cent of the membership are female. The SAL organises a large variety of professional and social functions through the year; providing an ideal opportunity for members to make new professional and social contacts in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

Society of Solicitor Advocates, in Scotland, provides information on what it means to be a Solicitor Advocate, a searchable directory of those holding the additional rights and a criminal solicitor advocates booking system. There is also a regularly updated news section.

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (“STEP”) is the Professional body for the trust and estate profession in the UK and worldwide. STEP members come from the legal, accountancy, corporate trust, banking, insurance and related professions, and are involved at senior level in the planning, creation, management of and accounting for trusts and estates, executorship administration, and related taxes.

Society of Writers to Her Majestys Signet (the WS Society) is apparently the oldest legal society in the world. It is a private society of Scottish solicitors designed to represent them but also to educate them and ensure the highest standards of professional competence. It is open to all Scottish solicitors who have practised for 3 years and there are at present around 675 full members. The site includes information on the history and aims of the society and also news of meetings, legal developments, courses put on by the Society and information about the Library (the Society is based at the Signet Library in Edinburgh). You can book the historic rooms too.

Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates (SAHCA) is the only national association (with over 400 members) representing the interests of solicitors who practise or who aspire to practise as advocates in the Higher Courts. The aims and objectives of the association include promoting the maintenance of the highest ethical and professional standards of advocacy in the Higher Courts, to promote the interests of those who practise or seek to practise as solicitor-advocates and to promote and encourage the education and training of solicitor-advocates.

Solicitors Assistance Scheme offers assured confidential advice to fellow solicitors on any problem troubling them, whether personal or professional. There are around 80 members around the country. Problems such as stress, disciplinary matters, partnership disputes or financial worries, will all be advised on. The first consultation remains free of charge and thereafter the member will discuss any appropriate remuneration. Changes made to meet the pressures faced in the present day include recruiting solicitors Scheme members trained in counselling skills and in helping with financial difficulties.

Solicitors Benevolent Association (SBA) was founded in 1858 as the Solicitors Benevolent Society, is the principal nationwide charity for solicitors in England and Wales. The aim of the Association is to assist solicitors and their dependents who are in need. As at 31 December 2003 there were 319 ‘active’ beneficiaries, including 7 in Nursing or Residential Homes, 62 students and the remainder (including 62 dependent children) living in private accommodation.

Solicitors in Local Government Limited is a professional association which represents the 4,000 local government solicitors and trainees in England and Wales. It runs a network of 9 regional branches which provide networking and training opportunities through branch meetings and Special Interest Groups. Providing over 100 courses a year, LGG Training offers the local government lawyer all the practice updates, professional skills and practice management training they will need.

The Solicitors Family Law Association is now known as Resolution – see above.

Solicitors for the Elderly is a national association of solicitors, barristers and legal executives who are concerned with improving the availability and delivery of legal services to older people. The site contains a list of member solicitors, arranged by town or area, and also a very good set of links to other bodiesconcerned with elderly people and the law, benefits, health, illness, social services, carers and so on.

For information about the Solicitors Human Rights group, please contact either of the following:
Nicholas Humphrey, 0171 250 0276, email
Nicolas Steineke, 0171 916 3032, email

The Solicitors’ Sole Practitioners Group is one of seven Law Society recognised groups which represent particular sectors of the profession and there are 4,800 members. The site has useful information about the group and future conferences, events and special deals for SP’s. There is a current legal news section, a discussion group and the magazine online (in pdf format).

Solicitors Support network is an umbrella site for the groups providing support and assistance to solicitors with professional or personal problems or who are just needing a bit of encouragement at a particular stage of their career. T

the SOLICITORS group is a major player in the area of shared services for Solicitors. With over 20,000 regular lawyer customers and a membership of over 1,250 law firms, they offer a choice of 17 events across the UK, including Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each 2 or 3 day event offers a range of 6 hour conferences covering all of the major legal practice areas. The SOLICITORS group’s flagship conference and exhibition, held at Olympia in London in the Autumn, attracts over 3000 solicitors each year. A 6 hour conference costs as little as £99 to attend for both members and non-members. As well face-to-face CPD, they offer a range of recorded and online CPD, as well as bespoke in-house training.

The Trainee Solicitors Group – see Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society, above.

UK Constitutional Law Group (UKCLG) is the British section of the International Association of Constitutional Law. Formed in 2003, the UK Group is an independent association, jointly convened by Andrew Le Sueur and Sebastian Payne. The group runs seminars and conferences and also provides the UK Constitutional Law Group Blog with frequent and detailed posts.

The UK Environmental Law Association is the national association for those involved in the practice, study or formulation of Environmental Law. It has amongst its aims:
* To collate and disseminate information relating to environmental law and
* To identify, review, advise and comment on issues of environmental law and its application.
There are events listed on the site and also copies of consultation papers and responses to government and international initiatives.

Young Legal Aid Lawyers is a group of lawyers who are committed to practising in those areas of law, both criminal and civil, that have traditionally been publicly funded. The group includes those who are still studying and training as well as recently qualified barristers and solicitors. They believe in the importance of good quality representation and advice at all levels to those who could otherwise not afford it. They have chosen to commit themselves to legally aided work despite the current lack of financial sponsorship or reward. There is news of developments in legal aid provision and responses from the group.

Young Solicitors Group is now the Junior Lawyers Division of the Law Society, above.