The Committee supports the development of the future strategy of the Section and enhancement of the services already offered to members. Committee members and their brief biographies are below.
Robert Banner is an executive director of Banner Jones Ltd, a firm which he has been involved in managing for over 25 years. During that time, the firm has grown from three partners to 19 directors (subsequent to incorporation) and from one office to six offices throughout South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire. He has been on the Section’s executive committee since 2010.
Nadia Biles Davies joined boutique family law practice, Rayden Solicitors, in 2008, becoming a partner in 2010. In 2011, Nadia took on the role of managing partner. Since then, Rayden Solicitors has continued to grow year on year, been recognised as a top firm by leading directories, won a number of awards, and has gained Lexcel accreditation. Nadia has also completed the CIPD Diploma in human resource management
Barry Davies is the Practice Director and COFA at Douglas-Jones Mercer. A qualified Accountant and one of the first non-lawyers to be appointed as a Director of a law firm in Wales. He is responsible for the overall management of his Firm, including all support services functions.
Alison Downie is a partner and head of employment at Goodman Derrick LLP in London, advising both employers and employees in employment, discrimination and related contract and regulatory law. Her clients include law firms and other professional partnerships. She is a former managing partner of another large London law firm, and is a fomer past chair of the Section.
Ann Harrison (chair) is chairwoman of Stephensons Solicitors LLP, a top 150 law firm with offices in London and the North-West. She has been involved in management at Stephensons since 2004, during which time the firm has grown its turnover from £6m to £20m. Ann believes that development of good people and a clear plan are vital elements for a strong law firm.
Christopher Hart is a managing partner with Wollen Michelmore LLP, specialising in licensing and commercial drafting work. He has been an active member of the Devon & Somerset Law Society’s practice management sub-committee for many years and is also responsible for the South Devon Managing Partners’ Forum. He is a past chair of the Section.
Ian Hopkins is chief executive of Buckinghamshire-based B. P. Collins, and a non-practising solicitor with 20 years’ experience in law firm management, gained at four regional law firms. In addition to his legal qualification, Ian has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Level 7 qualification in law firm risk and compliance with the Institute of Leadership and Management .
Meena Kumari has over 10 years’ legal management experience. She has a wealth of experience in complex children cases, with particular expertise negotiating financial settlement for clients in the course of separation and divorce. Meena believes it is important to clearly understand the primary aim and objectives of any organisation to fully facilitate a sensible, effective and beneficial solution.
Andrew Otterburn (vice chair) is a mangement consultant and a chartered accountant and has advised approximately 250 firms of solicitors in the UK and Ireland on profitability, management and strategy. He has written four books for the Law Society and produces the annual survey of law firms in Scotland for the Law Society of Scotland.
Barry Wilkinson is the founder of Wilkinson Read, which specialises in advising medium-sized law firms to improve their business performance. He is a member of both the Institute for Turnaround and the Association of Partnership Practitioners. He is the author of Cash Flow Management for Law Firms (Ark 2009 and 2014) and many articles on legal business topics.
A Commercial Solicitor, Simon McCrum became leader of various teams, Marketing Partner, Director of Business Development, and part of the Management Team at Pannone LLP. He launched and grew the Connect2Law law firm network. In 2007 he became Managing Partner at Darbys Solicitors. That firm moved from making a loss to being in the Top 200 as the country’s fastest-growing law firm. In 2016 Darbys was acquired by Knights, and Simon exited to launch his Management Consultancy for law firms, McCrum & Co.
Fariha Butt joined Saracens Solicitors in 2006, becoming practice director in 2009. In 2010, under her management, Saracens Solicitors secured Lexcel accreditation and took Alternative Business Structure. Saracens has since been short-listed for the Law Society excellence awards twice, in practice management and also in technology. Fariha specialises in property, and her management focus is business development, employee relations and client relationship management
Sarah Sargent is head of conveyancing at Hattersleys Solicitors. She was called to the Bar in 2003 before later taking the conversion course to become a solicitor. She runs a successful property department in south Yorkshire dealing with all aspects of residential and commercial property.
Paul Bennett is a Solicitor, Mediator and Arbitrator who advises on SRA regulatory, Anti-Money Laundering, employment and partnership law in the specialist Professional Practice Team at Aaron & Partners LLP. Paul’s work is national and his experience includes advising hundreds of law firms from High Street to City & US Law Firms on legal issues and regulatory investigatory and enforcement matters. Paul chaired the Small Firms Division Committee in 2015 having previously been a Managing Director who sold the successful niche law firm he had started.
Reuben Glynn has extensive experience in helping law firms and corporations by improving profitability and achieving efficiency through project management and process improvement. He has been heavily involved in many high profile legal acquisitions for private practice and listed legal entities. He has worked as the Law Society’s Practical Cost Budgeting champion and trained extensively for APIL, AvMA, Brain Injury Group and MBL.