Newly inaugurated Law Society president named on 2022 Powerlist
I. Stephanie Boyce had broken barriers as the first person of colour to be appointed as president
On Thursday 14 October, the 177th president of the Law Society of England and Wales was inaugurated in the first-ever hybrid ceremony held by Chancery Lane. Today (15 October), there was more cause for celebration as it was announced the newly inaugurated president had been named on Powerful Media’s annual Powerlist for the second year in a row.
I. Stephanie Boyce is the first Black office holder and the first person of colour to be appointed as president of the Law Society. She is also only the sixth female and second in-house solicitor in almost fifty years to be elected to the role.
Boyce, who holds a master of laws in public law and global governance from King’s College, London, qualified as a solicitor in 2002 and specialises in corporate governance, regulatory frameworks and professional regulation.
She started in the role as president in March this year. Commenting on her appointment, she said: “It is an absolute privilege to serve as Law Society president and that privilege has not diminished in the slightest since I began my presidency. I have had many months of meeting with, listening to, and representing the profession, and found it so eminently rewarding”.
“Indeed, the sense of privilege has grown in line with my understanding of just what the Law Society can achieve alongside and on behalf of the profession for whom we speak.
“This is still an unexpected time, an unpredictable time, and ultimately, a time of change – and in that uncertainty, solicitors are a rock people can rely on to give them a sense of surety”.
Boyce said she was “living testament to the growing social opportunity” in the profession. However, she acknowledged “more needs to be done” to ensure talented individuals can progress, stay and thrive in the law, regardless of their background.
She said: “I’ve always wanted to break down barriers, and in becoming the first person of colour to be president of the Law Society, I did just that. Now here’s to another year of breaking down the barriers to accessing justice, to overseas markets, and ultimately, to a thriving profession – all while striving to protect the rule of law.”
Commenting on being named in the 2022 Powerlist, which features 100 of the UK’s most influential men and women of African, African Caribbean and African American heritage, she said: “I am honoured to be among them”.
Boyce described diversity and inclusion as being high on her list of presidential priorities. She said: “I have personally seen what a difference a visible role model can make and the confidence it can give others”.
She added: “The Law Society has been listening to and learning from our Black colleagues. In 2020, we published our Race for Inclusion report, which found that while 17.5% of the profession identify as Black, Asian or minority ethnic (10% identify as Asian solicitors and only 3% identify as Black) that’s true of only 8% of partners in the largest firms. This was based on data from 2019-20.
“We must show that people from all walks of life and backgrounds can make valuable contributions and achieve success in our profession.”