Our constituency incorporates the regional counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire, together with Milton Keynes. Our neighbouring local law societies are Hertfordshire, Surrey, Hampshire, Gloucester & Wiltshire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire.
The BB&O Law Society is neither a local branch of the Law Society of England and Wales, nor in any way associated with the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Consequently, we have no formal authority or jurisdiction over local solicitors or their firms.
We do, however, have good communication channels with the Law Society, the SRA and the Legal Ombudsman, where members’ issues can be raised and matters affecting the legal profession discussed. We maintain close contact with the Law Society through our Council members, to ensure that the views of our members are put forward to the national Law Society Council. We also regularly contribute to wider debates and consultations on matters affecting the profession or the public interest.
The BB&O Law Society has been proud to provide some of the first solicitor judges, a President of the national Law Society and numerous Council members of the Law Society. It was a founding member of the Southern Area Association of Law Societies, established over 60 years ago primarily to oversee the introduction of the Legal Aid Scheme, but now a very influential group of eight local Law Societies (BB&O, Bournemouth, Dorset, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, Surrey).
Amongst other achievements, we promoted the introduction of some of the first voluntary Duty Solicitor Schemes (Reading and Banbury) in the late 1970s – long before the introduction of the statutory scheme. We continue to be a staunch supporter and defender of the Legal Aid scheme.
We encouraged the formation of an early Young Solicitors Group (now known as the Junior Lawyers Division) as well as local associations in Berkshire, Oxford & District and Milton Keynes.
In a challenging professional environment, we are working hard to keep legal services local.
Writing in May 1983 in a publication called “A Short History of the Hertfordshire Law Society as seen in its Centenary Year”, David Martin, the then President of Hertfordshire Law Society, wrote, “We are in a period of change. Society, and the needs of society, demands 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.”
We echo those values here, especially as the current years seem to be bringing about substantially more change than that experienced in the 1980s. Whilst the political and economic storms rage around us, we are striving to ensure that the legal profession’s independence and integrity remain firm and unshaken.
We aim to promote legal excellence throughout our constituency, supporting integrity and leadership, and defending the rule of law.
Our vision is to be a modern and inclusive professional organisation to represent and support the practice of law in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes.
Our mission is to promote the practice of law in our region by supporting and upholding our members, encouraging a sense of belonging and of being part of a community, offering a year-round programme of legal training, networking and social events, and championing access to justice for all, using our collective voice.
Our goals include:
- Protecting the character, status, rights and interests of our members and of the legal profession.
- Promoting integrity and honourable practice among members of the legal profession.
- Upholding respect for each other, our clients, and the rule of law.
- Promoting legal education, including through our relationships with local universities to encourage and support the study of law and to promote interaction and an exchange of opportunities.
- Considering questions affecting the profession at large, or the alteration or administration of the law.