Allen & Overy consultant and former partner John Wotton has been appointed as the new Law Society president.
Mr Wotton practises in the field of EU and competition law and has held the EU Matters Council seat since 2007.
The new president comes to the role as the profession faces greater competition with significant new entry expected resulting from the Legal Services Act. Many solicitors also face difficulties following the government's decision to make dramatic cuts to legal aid funding.
Acknowledging the difficulties the legal profession faces, Mr Wotton said: "Under my leadership the Law Society will remain committed to preserving access to justice in the face of the government's proposed reductions in the scope of legal aid.
"The commitment to access to justice and social justice runs as strongly in those who join the large corporate law firms and eventually come to lead them, as in those lawyers who dedicate their professional lives to advising the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.
"I am sure that, working in close co-operation with local law societies and other representative bodies, our regulators and other key stakeholders, we will help the profession to thrive in a new competitive environment."
The new president will be supported by vice president Lucy Scott-Moncrieff and deputy vice president Nick Fluck, and also the chairs of the Society's boards Christina Blacklaws, Andrew Caplen, Michael Garson and David Taylor.