This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Law Society’s move to its current office at Wing On House. We relocated from the former Swire House in April 1998, which was scheduled to be demolished and redeveloped into the current Chater House. Since then, our profession has doubled in numbers. As of the end of January 2018, we had 9,299 members holding a practising certificate and a team of 100 at the Secretariat, compared to 4,619 members holding a practising certificate and 56 Secretariat staff in 1998.
The scope of operation of the Law Society has been expanding to meet the needs of the growing membership and the changing legal services environment.
In 2008, the Law Society set up a new Member Services Department dedicated to providing more support to members. Its work ranges from the offer of recreation and sports activities to promote a work-life balance, to the organisation of social activities to facilitate professional networking and free legal advice schemes to enable members to contribute their expertise to help those in need.
To cope with the challenges of globalisation, the Law Society is taking a more active role in international activities to maintain its status as the representative body of the legal profession in the legal services hub of Asia and to keep itself abreast of the rapid changes taking place in the legal industry around the world.
In 2017, the Law Society received 41 delegations from the Greater China region and other overseas jurisdictions. We also sponsored young members to attend identified international conferences to gain more international exposure to better equip them for increasing globalisation. The growing interaction among jurisdictions around the world and the increasing mobility of the legal professionals across borders demand the Law Society to keep a close watch on the changing practice and regulatory landscape in different jurisdictions. More manpower is required to cover the research work and the organisation of a diverse range of events and activities.
To fulfill the space needs generated by its expanding operation, the Law Society offices had been renovated to create more office area for the Secretariat.
Further, with the Law Society library facilities fully digitalized, the Library and the reading area had been replaced with a new conference room. Four new work-stations each equipped with a computer for access to the Law Society’s Online Library have been installed in the common area at the Law Society Reception. Solicitors, trainee solicitors and registered foreign lawyers as well as paralegal staff authorised by law firms are most welcome to use the facility. The list of reference subscriptions available on our Online Library is published in our Circulars.
The former Clubhouse area had been refurbished into a multi-function room. The Law Society has been offering training courses under its mandatory Risk Management Education (‘RME‘) Programme and the Continuing Professional Development (‘CPD‘) Scheme. In 2017, the Law Society and The Academy of Law organised 375 training courses. It is expected that the multi-function room can be utilised to conduct some of the Law Society’s RME/CPD workshops, lunchtime seminars as well as evening receptions to relieve the pressure of sourcing suitable venues in Central.
Committee Room II