`Foul-mouthed' new head of Law Society

IN AN election characterised by bad feeling, the lawyer who called his rival a pillock was in the end the one who triumphed.

Robert Sayer, who also described one of the opposition's campaign team as a "dog turd", yesterday became the fifth solicitor to be elected president of the Law Society. Mr Sayer received 12,819 votes and his rival, David Keating, 7,062.

This year's bad feeling flowed from the moment Mr Sayer heard that the election was to be contested. Apparently furious that he would now have to campaign for the right to lead the country's 70,000 solicitors, he branded his opponent, Hartlepool solicitor David Keating, "a complete pillock".

Mr Sayer told the Lawyer magazine last month that the Law Society needed a contested election "like it needs a hole in the head". He said: "[Keating] comes to council meetings falls asleep and goes home again." He called it "incredible cheek" that he expected to step in where other members had "worked so hard to see reforms through".

Mr Sayer also had some colourful language for the man backing Mr Keating, Mr Sayer's erstwhile friend Martin Mears, winner of the first contested Law Society elections in 1994. "Every year," said Mr Sayer, "Mears comes up like a piece of dog turd on your shoe."

Mr Keating's response was measured. He said: "There's no need to get hot under the collar and call people names. I am standing because of the feeling within some of the council... that Bob's not the right person for the job. Anyway, I don't go to sleep in council meetings, although I may close my eyes when it get tedious."

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