The Law Society is in the dock over its failure to utilise the government’s furlough scheme which runs until the end of March as it plans to make 44 staff redundant.

Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, today (Wednesday 11 November) called on The Law Society, the organisation that represents and governs solicitors in England and Wales, to have an urgent rethink, otherwise ‘it will suffer reputational damage in the court of public opinion’.

The consultation into the proposed redundancies ends tomorrow (Thursday 12 November). The society has proposed to create 47 jobs, but Unite says they are different roles, on lower grades, and include a temporary contract.

Unite regional officer Carolyn Simpson said: “The Law Society is in the dock over the way it has handled these proposed job cuts and, as a result, risks reputational damage in the court of public opinion. 

“Unfortunately, The Law Society is living up to its image as a London-centric organisation. By scrapping its regional staff team, the society has turned its back on its own members based in the north, midlands and south west.

“It has, so far, rejected recommendations from Unite that it utilises in full the government’s furlough scheme that the chancellor Rishi Sunak has now extended until the end of March 2021.

“We believe that this august body has fallen to a new low in its 195-year-old history, preferring instead to jeopardise the livelihoods of its staff at this most uncertain of times. 

“It needs to show a wider sense of social responsibility to its dedicated staff during this national crisis. 

“We don’t believe that the creation of 47 new jobs is the way forward, instead it seems to be a thinly veiled disguise to use the pandemic to reduce pay and terms and conditions of employees.

“Unite remains open for meaningful dialogue with the management to chart the best way forward for the society, the solicitors it represents and the staff that underpin the smooth running of the organisation.” 

The jobs under threat include relationship management staff based in the north, midlands and south west regions, as well as technical website digital staff.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.