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Small Firms Division

About the small firms committee

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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.

Our history

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.

Our role

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?

 

Our committee members

Chair: Sally Azarmi

Sally Azarmi

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.

Paul Bennett

Paul Bennett

Paul is a former sole practitioner who advises law firm partners on SRA regulatory and anti-money laundering issues, employment and partnership law.

Paul’s clients include numerous sole practitioners and smaller partnerships including multi-million turnover firms and ABSs.

In 2008, he was appointed by the then attorney general to the Regional Panel of Counsel as a solicitor advocate.

Melanie Craig

Melanie Craig

Melanie started her practice in 1983 in Leeds and has gained an extensive nationwide clientele. The firm specialises in divorce and family law. Their London office opened this year to service clients in London and the south and to expand the practice.

Ravi Singh Chumber

Ravi Singh Chumber

Ravi is a partner and HR manager at Rashid & Co Solicitors, a well established criminal, family and immigration legal aid firm in Birmingham. He runs their new office in Bilston in the Black Country and is very active in the community legally and politically, running free legal help and advice clinics throughout the local area.

Emma Macpherson

Emma Macpherson

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 Khan

Sophie Khan

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 Roe

Tony Roe

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.

Sarah Sargent

Sarah Sargent

Sarah 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.

Marcus Hayes

Marcus Hayes

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.

Sonia Limbada

Sonia Limbada

Sonia is a founder and partner of Carter Young Solicitors which specialises in immigration and family law. She works with families and individuals to help them resolve their issues in these areas. She has been a practising solicitor for over 10 years and a partner for over five. Prior to her current role she has practiced in the public, private and not for profit sector.

william john scott 120x148

William John Scott

William, of Reed, Ryder and Meikle, is a sole practitioner based in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

Robert Banner

robert banner 120

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.

Philip Giles

philip giles

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 & Commercial Mediation Scheme, and a member of both the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists and Resolution (formerly the Solicitors’ Family Law Association).

Chris Stocker

chris stocker

Chris is the Senior Partner of Stocker and Co LLP formed in 2014. He was a Sole Practitioner from 1988 until 2014 in a practice in Thame Oxfordshire dealing with both non contentious and contentious work. Chris deals with Private Client work. From 1996 until 2014 he was an active member of the Law Society’s Sole Practitioners Group. 

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About the Small firms Division

Your Small Firms Division is dedicated to meeting the needs of all smaller legal businesses, including sole practitioners.

See our 2016/17 Engagement Programme