The History of Hertfordshire Law Society
Hertfordshire Law Society was formed on 21st May 1883 at an Annual General Meeting held at the Law Institution (later to become The Law Society) in Chancery Lane, London, as a society primarily concerned with the character, status, education, and interests of solicitors practising within its area.
The inaugural Rules of the Society, prepared by a Provisional Committee of representatives from all parts of the County, continued in force with a few amendments until 2003, when, guided by the then President, Paul Davies, (now Hertfordshire Council Member of The Law Society), they were brought up to date.
Prior to that, under changes instigated during the Presidency of Graham White (Paul Davies’s predecessor as Hertfordshire Council Member of The Law Society), the Management Committee became The Council, and specialist committees were constituted to cover most fields of practice. The Society’s year was changed at that time to coincide with the calendar year
The full membership subscription in 1883 was £1. It is currently £45.
The eligibility for membership gradually altered the over the years, with the introduction of three additional classes of membership.
The prizes currently awarded by the Society had their origin in a prize of books to the value of five guineas (£5.25) for articled clerks (the predecessors of trainee solicitors) articled to a Member of the Society gaining first-class honours in the final examination.
The Society’s most important social event has always been its annual dinner; originally a lunch held until the mid-1960s in a number of venues in St Albans and Harpenden. Thereafter, the venue was Watford Town Hall for about 20 years until the Old Palace at Hatfield House was selected. From 2010, the venue included other venues around Hertfordshire, for the convenience of members from different parts of the County.
Writing in May 1983, in a publication called “A Short History of the Hertfordshire Law Society as seen in its Centenary Year”, (the source of much of the earlier information above), which he compiled from research by Colonel Alan Andrews, David Martin, the then President of Hertfordshire Law Society, wrote, “We are in a period of change. Society, and the needs of society, demand that we change some of our ideas and procedures. However, let us always endeavour to maintain our independence, our integrity and our resolution to put the interests of our clients first.”
30+ years on, those sentiments remain just as relevant.
Graham Spittle, Past President of The Hertfordshire Law Society