Law Society PR chief Sue Stapely has become the latest senior figure to
defect from the feud-ridden body by announcing a move to Fishburn
Stapely, who has been with the solicitors’ professional association
since 1989, has revealed that she will join the agency in June as a
Her move comes amid wide and well-publicised discord at the society,
following last summer’s election of Martin Mears as president.
It also comes less than a month after it was announced that Andrew
Lockley, director of corporate and regional affairs, is to leave.
Stapely insists that Mears’ election played no part in her decision to
leave, but both she and Lockley were identified by him as people he was
unable to work with.
Their relationship seemed to hit crisis levels in January, following the
well-publicised fallout from a Mail on Sunday article about Mears’
personal life. At a Law Society council meeting Mears attacked Stapely
for circulating the article among routine press cuttings. Mears
subsequently criticised Lockley for releasing a memo to the press from
Stapely, in which she responded to his criticisms.
Stapely told PR Week that her going was not precipitated, or hastened,
by her relationship with Mears.
‘I had been looking to develop my career and had been in discussion with
a wide range of organisations before his election,’ she said.
‘I am leaving the Law Society on the best terms, and with kind words of
support from all my senior colleagues.’
Before joining the Law Society, Stapely was a partner with solicitors
Heald Nickinson where she headed the family law department.
Fishburn Hedges chief executive Neil Hedges said Stapely would
contribute to the agency’s ‘growing work in the public affairs and
campaigning fields as well as to our corporate public relations work
with major companies and institutions.’
* Fishburn Hedges associate director Julia Alexander has been appointed
to the board. She joined Fishburn Hedges in January 1993.