01 Sep 2023

Law Society refreshes board with new appointments

Four new independent members take up key oversight roles

Eileen Schofield (l) and Larissa Joy

The Law Society of England and Wales has appointed four new independent non-executive board members, as it refreshes its membership ahead of the new legal year at the end of September. 

Founded in 2018, the board is a key oversight body within the Law Society and oversees the implementation of the society’s strategy and business plan, as set by its council. It is made up of council members, office-holders, senior executives and independent members.  

Two of the new appointees – Eileen Schofield and Lariss Joy OBE – are solicitors.  

Schofield is the founder and principal solicitor at Schofield & Associates, a specialist employment law practice in Birmingham. Schofield has past board experience having chaired the prestigious Birmingham Law Society board, one of the largest local law societies in the country outside of London. She remains active on that board, as well as being president of her local chamber of commerce. 

For her part, Joy trained at Addleshaw Goddard before moving in-house at IMG and TBWA London, later moving into a non-legal career in management in leading advertising and media agencies such as Ogilvy & Mather and Weber Shandwick, and Actis, a private equity infrastructure investor. 

She later embarked on a portfolio career that includes non-executive appointments at executive search firm Saxon Bampfylde and Charles Russell Speechlys, among interests in the arts and museum sectors. 

Joy has links to the government as a non-executive board member of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She also chairs the employee ownership trust of architecture practice Hawkins Brown. She was awarded an OBE in the 2021 New Year Honours list for services to social enterprise and charity. 

Joy and Scofield replace CMS senior partner Penelope Warne, the firm’s head of energy, and Clifford Chance alumnus Vicky Lockie. 

The two remaining new appointees – Krishna Vishnubhotla and Kevin Hogarth – bring experience from finance and HR backgrounds within major City law firms and equivalent professional services brands, in a significant buff to the Society’s scrutiny capabilities in that area. 

They succeed Bill Butler, who had a finance background with several non-governmental agencies in the gambling, healthcare and security industries, and Judy Craske, a former RAF officer with senior-level experience in the nuclear and infrastructure sectors and communications. 

Vishnubhotla holds key roles at Herbert Smith Freehills on compliance and accountancy; he manages external audits across HSF’s global network. He is also a trustee and treasurer of Unltd, a charity that describes itself as a foundation for social entrepreneurs. 

Alison Brown, executive partner for UK, US and EMEA at HSF, welcomed the news, commenting: “As a firm, we welcome opportunities to engage in the broader legal community and apply the expertise of our people to promote the profession. We’re delighted that Krishna is taking up this role.”

Hogarth, meanwhile, was chief people officer at KPMG UK for two years from 2020 and sat on the accountancy giant’s executive committee. His previous roles include global director of people at Norton Rose Fulbright and global HR director at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, alongside charitable and university board appointments.  

Outgoing Law Society board chair Robert Bourns said: “I am grateful to Vicky, Penelope, Judy and Bill, who have served the board and society to such good effect over the last five and a half years. Their commitment and wisdom have helped to establish the board within the governance of the society.”  

Law Society president Lubna Shuja agreed, calling their contributions “instrumental” in the streamlined board’s work. Both Bourns and Shuja welcomed the new members, with Bourns saying: “The skills, experience and insights they possess will support the further development of the society as it works to promote our profession as well as the integrity and standing of this jurisdiction in an ever-changing and challenging environment.” 

Bourns, himself a former Law Society president, will step down from the chair role in January 2024 to be succeeded by former solicitor Amerdeep Somal, who has an extensive financial services and consumer regulatory background as well as serving as a part-time immigration judge. She will become the first person of Asian descent and the first woman to chair the board.  

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