From our committee members’ profiles (see below), you will see we are a varied lot. We are all volunteers and our work is unpaid.
Our first act was to respond to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) consultation on small firms and to point out how their approach has created a credibility vacuum which needs to be addressed alongside the challenges of unnecessary layers of bureaucracy stemming from their approach.
We will challenge the SRA to ensure they address the issues faced by smaller firms. We will also work with them if we can enhance their approach. We have spoken with the SRA previously (in our earlier form as small firms advisory group) and our door is always open if they wish to engage with us. We hope you will welcome this approach and we would appreciate your feedback.
A small number of randomly selected members joined the Law Society’s small firms advisory group in 2012 in trying to ensure the Law Society had some practitioner input into proposed changes. In 2014 we advertised for solicitors from England and Wales to join us. In October, solicitors with a wide range of skills, experience and viewpoints were appointed to the committee.
In January 2015 we met for the first time as a new committee consisting of sole practitioners, smaller firms (two to four partners), locums and service providers working in the sector. We have an exciting mix of viewpoints and experience.
Smaller law firms are the backbone of the profession. We will champion the interests of the community and help the Law Society’s Small Firms Division provide relevant, effective and timely support for solicitors working in the sector.
Our remit is to act as a voice from within. We want to impact on the Small Firms Division so it gets better in engaging its 8,537 member firms by delivering inspiring events and informative content. Working together, we hope to achieve far more for smaller firms than many practitioners expect.
Wish us luck, keep in touch and talk to us - we will do a better job if you engage with us so please don’t leave it to others to get in touch. Why not contact your nearest committee member to share your concerns or feedback?
Philip is a partner at Giles Wilson Solicitors. He is also a Civil Mediation Council-accredited mediator, as well as a general member of the Law Society’s Civil and Commercial Mediation Scheme, and a member of both the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists and Resolution (formerly the Solicitors’ Family Law Association).
Sally founded city law firm Azarmi & Company Ltd in 2012 after 18 years of practising as a solicitor and partner in large law firms.
Azarmi & Company specialises in immigration, employment and international trade and shipping and has an international client base. Clients include other law firms and professional partnerships in the UK and overseas.
Emma set up ELM Solicitors in 2009 and has been growing the practice since then but always keeping the service highly personal and client focused. Emma is a member of Resolution and a trained collaborative lawyer. Emma is a former chair and trustee of the charity MATCH (Mothers Apart from Their Children) and has taught family law part time at Ruskin College in Oxford.
Sophie is solicitor-director at Sophie Khan & Co Solicitors and Higher Court Advocates, a niche firm specialising in civil liberties and human rights law. She served a one-year term on the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee as a solicitor member and is a committee member of the Law Society’s Civil Justice Committee, the Law Society’s Ethnic Minorities Lawyers Division and the Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates.
Tony is the principal of niche practice Tony Roe Divorce & Family Law Solicitors, Berkshire, and a family law arbitrator. He was an original member of the Law Society’s Small Firms’ Advisory Group from 2012, prior to being invited to join the division’s first committee. Tony has written and lectured widely on family law and practice management, speaking at the inaugural Small Firms’ Division conference and subsequent events.
Marcus is director at niche commercial law firm, Mason Hayes, is a seasoned litigator, advising in the most complex and high value disputes, and also has a specialist interest in increasing diversity within the legal sector. In 2009 Marcus formed the Mason Hayes Charitable Trust supporting potential entrants to the legal profession through mentoring, financial support, an award winning work experience programme and sponsored awards.
William, of Reed, Ryder and Meikle, is a sole practitioner based in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.
Robert is the executive director of Banner Jones Ltd, a firm he has managed for over 20 years. During that time, the firm has grown from three partners to 19 directors (subsequent to incorporation) and from one office to six throughout Yorkshire and North Derbyshire. He is currently chairman of the Law Management Section.
Having started her legal career in local government, Linda set up Fortune Green Legal Practice in 2011. The firm is a niche practice specialising in providing advice to homeowners and property developers on all aspects of town and country planning law.
Karen is solicitor-director of Didlaw, a boutique employment law firm based in Covent Garden. Karen created the firm in 2008 after her heart transplant and specialises in disability discrimination with a particular focus on mental health at work. She is a leading authority on disability discrimination and leads a team of 5 lawyers including herself and 2.5 support staff.
Huw has over 20 years’ experience and specialises in white collar crime and complex fraud. He is a solicitor advocate and represents individuals and companies across the UK. Bowden Jones Ltd, which he established with Stephen Jones in 2003, is based in Cardiff, recognised by Legal 500, as a Tier 1 firm and Huw as one of Wales’ leading individuals.
Nick is the director of Nicholas Woolf & Co, a niche international commercial and family law practice in Chancery Lane, formed in 2011, specialising in shareholder, director, partnership and estate disputes. Nick has over 40 years of experience in small firms or as a sole practitioner. He is a member of Resolution, POCLA, PNLA and on the Executive of SPG.
Busy mum of two set up her own practice, Kher Solicitors Ltd, after qualifying in Criminal Litigation in 2003. Satpal then joined the CPS, gaining her higher rights of audience and became a solicitor advocate in 2007. She worked in business crime and regulatory and in 2010 took the brave move to set up her own practice. Satpal sat for four years on the Leeds Law Society board of Directors. Satpal is a well known regional practitioner having won awards and been recognised for her work. She now specialises solely in criminal litigation and regulatory law, her firm holds a crime legal aid contract and in 2017 was awarded Lexcel accreditation.
Anthony is a solicitor-director at Earl and Crocker Solicitors, a firm he has managed for over twenty years. The firm is a general High Street practice and has three offices located in Cornwall. Anthony specialises in both commercial and residential property and was Cornwall Law Society president in 2015/16 and is president of the Association of South Western Law Societies for 2017/18.