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Suzanne Townley

News Editor, Solicitors Journal

Law Society elects criminal legal aid solicitor as deputy vice president

Law Society elects criminal legal aid solicitor as deputy vice president


The new deputy VP will take up office in October

The Law Society has elected Richard Atkinson as deputy vice president. Atkinson will take office in October 2022 and will become vice president in 2023 and president in 2024 to 2025, when the Law Society will mark its 200th anniversary.

Atkinson has specialised in criminal law for 30 years with a focus on serious crime litigation. He is a duty solicitor and a higher rights advocate.

A Law Society council member since December 2016, he is the constituency member for Kent. Atkinson sits on the Law Society’s criminal law committee, and has chaired the committee for six years. He is also a member of the Law Society’s policy and regulatory affairs committee.

The criminal solicitor was shortlisted for Legal Personality of the Year at the Law Society Awards in 2021 and received a special award from the Legal Aid Practitioner Group for his work protecting solicitors who were providing legal advice to suspects detained in police stations during the pandemic.

Atkinson commented: “I am honoured to be elected as deputy vice president of the Law Society. I stood for office because of my strong belief in our profession, its values and the work it does to support our clients and uphold the rule of law.

“As lawyers we need to be courageous and speak out on behalf of those less able, for the independence of the legal system and institutions that are key to a functioning democracy. Many of these are under threat, not least our criminal justice system”.

I. Stephanie Boyce, president of the Law Society, said: "My congratulations go to Richard Atkinson who emerged as the winner from a strong field of candidates. I wish him all the very best for his three years as a Law Society office holder.”

Atkinson is also a member of the Home Office’s Police and Criminal Evidence advisory board, the National disclosure forum and the Crown Court Improvement group. He was on the advisory panel for the recent Independent Review of Criminal Legal Aid Chaired by Sir Christopher Bellamy QC.

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