New appointments maintain City bias among solicitors on SRA board

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12 January 2015


Willis: ex-joint CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills

Willis: ex-joint CEO of Herbert Smith Freehills

The City bias among the solicitors who sit on the board of the Solicitors Regulation Authority has been maintained with the appointment of two new members.

They are Elaine Williams, former deputy group company secretary at HSBC and previously a partner at magic circle firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and David Willis, ex-joint chief executive of top 10 City firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

They replace former board chairman Charles Plant – himself a one-time Herbert Smith partner – and Tom Keevil, group company secretary at Barratt Developments plc and a former Simmons & Simmons partner.

Three of the other five solicitor members of board are also City solicitors: Cindy Leslie, formerly a partner at Dentons; Martin Coleman, head of the competition group at Norton Rose; and Moni Mannings, a finance partner at Olswang.

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The remaining two are Chris Randall, chief executive of 30-partner multi-office Sussex firm Mayo Wynne Baxter, and former Law Society president Paul Marsh, a conveyancer who is currently a consultant with 15-partner Downs Solicitors in Surrey.

SRA chair Enid Rowlands said: “I am delighted to welcome two new members to our board. Their range of knowledge and experience will make a strong contribution to the work of the board as we oversee the delivery of our corporate strategy and business plan.”

The appointment panel comprised Mr Plant, Ms Rowland and Dame Denise Platt, chair of the Commission for Social Care Inspection. There is also a lay post being filled – with Sara Nathan’s term having ended – and 94 applications for the three roles were received.

Once filled, there will be an 8:7 lay majority on the SRA board, with Ms Rowlands taking over this month as its first non-lawyer chair. Six of the board members are women pending the final appointment.

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