Memorial service announced for international ‘legal ambassador’ Stephen Denyer

Ceremony at London’s Temple Church to be held in honour of former director of strategic relationships at Law Society of England and Wales

London’s legal profession will hold a memorial service next month for the late Stephen Denyer, former director of strategic relationships at the Law Society of England and Wales.

The service at the historic Temple Church on 21 June will be a rare honour for a former member of the Law Society’s staff, reflecting Denyer’s professional achievements and the profound impact he had on the legal community – including on the writer of this piece – both in the UK and abroad.

Denyer, who died suddenly and unexpectedly on 14 January, was a stalwart in the legal community renowned for his extensive domestic and international contributions. His career spanned several decades, with a notable tenure of more than 36 years at Allen & Overy, now A&O Sheaman, where he began as a trainee after studying law at the University of Durham.

Admitted in 1980, Denyer significantly shaped the global reach of Allen & Overy and the broader legal profession, retiring as the firm’s global markets partner in 2014.

His subsequent role at the Law Society involved fostering strategic relationships with key stakeholders, including local law societies, governments, universities and law schools, both within the UK and internationally.

Law Society chief executive Ian Jeffery said: “Stephen was a brilliant lawyer and hugely well-connected ambassador, combining those qualities to lead discussion among members on the issues of greatest significance to the profession. His wisdom and wise counsel were sought by colleagues and by others in the profession across the world.”

Denyer’s influence extended far beyond national borders. He held prominent positions in international legal organisations, such as co-chair of the International Bar Association (IBA) Rule of Law Forum.

The IBA’s executive director, Mark Ellis, said: “Stephen Denyer was a dear friend – someone I met during my first visit to London 24 years ago. His support of the IBA was unmatched. His collected contributions were measured, thought-provoking and inspiring in every dealing I had with Stephen. He was also an incredibly kind person. His absence from the legal profession will be both sad and profound.”

The memorial service will be followed by a reception at the Law Society’s Chancery Lane headquarters. Anyone interested in attending should email [email protected].

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