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    am writing this article to'draw our members' attention to the Council's
    proposal to amend The Law Society's Articles of Association at the
 forthcoming AGM to be held in May. An amendment will be tabled to
 enable honorary membership to be established.
    The Law Society has been registered for 90 years during which                                           '
time, a significant number of lawyers, solicitors in. particular, have         sit' is.
given distinguished service and made a substantial and invaluable
contribution to the legal profession. Their con-                                                       mn
tributions have however for the most part gone                                                    H Stiffs >%
unrecorded or unrecognised.
    A case in point was brought to my attention a few
months ago. I received a letter from one of the most
senior members of the Law Society, courteously ad-                                                n.                                    °
vising me of his intention not to renew his membership.
On checking our records I discovered that not only
had he been a practising solicitor for over 40 years but                                                    ftj-t fl ffir . h
had also been a past president of the Law Society.
During his more active years he had made a substan-                                                                       '


tial contribution to the legal profession.                                                                                •
    I further discovered that unless this gentleman
volunteered to pay the annual membership fee, which
he did not see any point in continuing to do, his name
would be removed from the Law Society's Register of                                                             '
Members. Neither 1 nor the Council presently have the power to preserve
his membership. It is a pity that such a prominent and esteemed member                    'S.9RWS m B «t ° -«»Sn»J
of the Law Society should be removed from the Register and not remain          t-ltfS1;S|nitliail«i5fe§fr*»^.$:S -
as one of our members for life.                                                        : Jf-«!&?'*ififfNi]iA± >
    The above prompted me to make enquiries with other jurisdictions on              '
the issue of honorary membership. The result was as I expected. Almost
every jurisdiction that we contacted had some form of honorary member-         a >            ;
ship. Following this, a proposal was put to the Council to enable an                               '                            «   ' " • /;'


honorary membership scheme to be established. After careful considera-
tion, the council unanimously agreed to propose to our members that the                                         '
Articles of The Law Society be amended to create two types of honorary                    ;
membership.
    The first category will apply to non-solicitors, and the second category
or Roll of Honour will apply to solicitors who have given distinguished
service to the legal profession. In the case of the former, the honoured
member shall be entitled to attend meetings of members and also speak
at such meetings, but shall not be entitled to vote. In the latter case, the
honourable solicitor will be entitled to all the rights and privileges of a
member of The Law Society, but will be exempt from paying any
membership fee.
    I leave it to the members to decide whether the above amendment
ought to be approved. I personally believe that it serves an admirable
purpose, acknowledging the contributions of our fellow professionals to
the legal profession, and sincerely hope that it will be supported.




Hong Kong Lawyer   April 1998

				
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