Bev Cullen, Assistant County Solicitor (Litigation & Employment) at Lancashire County Council, has become President of Lawyers in Local Government (LLG).
Her appointment was backed at the LLG annual general meeting, which was held during the Weekend School in Exeter.
Doreen Forrester Brown, Director of Legal Services at the London Borough of Southwark, steps up to Vice President, while Phillip Horsfield, Director of Legal & Planning at Broxtowe Borough Council, was chosen as Deputy Vice President.
The AGM also saw Nigel Snape and Nicholas Dobson retain their roles as Treasurer and Communications Officer respectively.
Helen Thompson from Gateshead Council and Natalie Baldwin from North Yorkshire County Council have become LLG’s Junior Professional Representatives, taking over from Sam McGinty and Gurbinder Sangha.
Cullen said it was “an honour” to lead the organisation and that she would look in her presidential year to build on the good work of her predecessors, Mark Hynes of Lambeth Council (2013/14) and Philip Thomson of Essex County Council (2014/15).
A past chair of Solicitors in Local Government, which came together with the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors in April 2013 to form LLG, Cullen noted that strong foundations had been laid and LLG was thriving.
But she acknowledged that LLG was still a young organisation and there was plenty of work to be done. In order to boost capacity, it is hiring a Development Officer to boost its capacity, she added. (To find out more about this role, click here).
Cullen told the AGM that local government lawyers had responded well to the challenging environment faced by the sector.
She added that she believed – thanks in part to the possibility of further deregulation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority – there were “lots of opportunities out there for local government lawyers”.
“Together we can seize them and promote ourselves,” she said.
Cullen announced at the AGM that LLG was looking for expressions of interest from members in becoming the leads for the following special activity areas: adult social care and health; employment; and planning, highways and environment.
“These are fantastic opportunities for people to promote LLG and themselves,” she said, adding that interested individuals should contact the organisation to put themselves forward.
LLG meanwhile launched a mentoring scheme at the Weekend School. Further details are to be posted shortly on its website.