New president takes over at Birmingham Law Society

Outgoing president Andrew Lancaster with his successor Mary Kaye, who took over as president of Birmingham Law Society at its AGM.

Mary Kaye, a partner at law firm SGH Martineau, has been appointed as the new president of Birmingham Law Society (BLS).

She succeeds Andrew Lancaster of Anthony Collins Solicitors, who stepped down at the Society’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24 April 2012.

Mary is a highly respected family law practitioner. She has led the family law team at SGH Martineau since joining the firm in 2006, specialising in all aspects of family law, with particular expertise in international family law, often involving legal and financial disputes in different jurisdictions. Mary also has extensive experience in representing clients in the Family Proceedings Court, the County Court and High Court and is regularly instructed by the court to act for children.

Born in Limerick, Ireland, Mary moved to Manchester in 1976 to work for the Bank of Ireland. She moved to Birmingham in 1982, where she initially trained and qualified as a legal executive before qualifying as a solicitor in 1997.

Before joining Martineau in 2006, Mary was a partner at Birmingham law firm Blakemores for six years.

She said: “It is an honour and privilege to be taking over as president of Birmingham Law Society.

“Andrew has done a fantastic job as president over the past 12 months in what remains a challenging economic environment for the legal industry.
“We have held a number of successful events, including the annual Legal Awards, which was attended by a record number of people, seminars on key issues affecting the legal sector, and networking events. We also have an active and engaged membership, which I want to build on further.”

As president, Mary said she has three main objectives. “Firstly, during my year in office I want to put BLS on a firm business footing,” she said.

“Central to this will be establishing a three-year business plan for the organisation. Not only will this give us something to work towards, it will provide total transparency and accountability for the members of whom we serve.

“Secondly, I believe that BLS should have a permanent home; somewhere that acts as a central hub for the city’s legal profession that can be used by members and non-members alike to meet and do business.

“Thirdly, building on the work of Andrew and his predecessors, I want to encourage wider communication and involvement amongst members to create greater unity within the profession. Key to this will be forging stronger ties among all age groups, from newly qualifieds to senior partners.”

Taking over as vice president of BLS is Martin Allsopp, a partner at Allsopp & Co, while Eileen Schofield of Schofield & Associates becomes the deputy vice president.

Mary also welcomes Chris Owen, chief executive of St Philips Chambers, as chairman of the BLS board. Chris takes over the role from Bernard Shepherd, who stepped down at the AGM. Bernard will continue to serve as a board of BLS.

Mary said: “Bernard is a great ambassador for the Society and champion of the legal profession and I’m delighted that he will be remaining on the board to provide ongoing support.”