Legal Business Blogs

‘A period of significant change’: Law Society appoints former housing body boss as interim chief executive

The Law Society has appointed non-lawyer Paul Tennant as its interim chief executive following the resignation of Catherine Dixon at the start of January.

Tennant moves from housing association Orbit where he was chief executive, having been at the organisation for 14 years. Tennant also held a non-executive roles as president of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Dixon’s last day in office will be 1 February, with Tennant set to take up the interim role on 6 February.

Dixon, the former head of the NHS Litigation Authority until 2014, resigned in a letter to the 100 members of the Law Society council citing a lack of governance reform in the body. Her letter stated: ‘I cannot in good conscience continue to act as the CEO of an organisation when I do not support the decision by council not to rigorously pursue governance reform in what I believe is in the best interests of the profession and the organisation.’

Law Society president Robert Bourns said the society had also appointed the Good Governance Institute as part of its continued review into the organisation.

Bourns added: ‘My focus will be on ensuring we represent the profession effectively through a period of significant change and working with council colleagues and others to progress our governance review.’

The Law Society is facing challenges to its future role as the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and the Legal Services Board both support plans to split the society and the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

In November last year, the MoJ told Legal Business: ‘We intend to consult in due course on making regulators independent from their representative bodies.’

Read more: ‘Taxation without representation – would you pay for the Law Society to represent you?’