Bates: new kind of service

The focus of the Legal Services Board on competition in the legal market looks set to intensify after it appointed the inquiry director at the Competition Commission as its new strategy chief.

Caroline Wallace will join the LSB in May after nine years in her current role, during which time she led investigations in the transport, chemical, food, financial services, IT and construction sectors.

A chartered engineer, she spent the previous five years at Oftel and then Ofcom, where she was a director of competition policy. She replaces Crispin Passmore, who has joined the Solicitors Regulation Authority as its policy director.

LSB chief executive Chris Kenny said: “Caroline has a deep understanding of the benefits that well-regulated, competitive markets can bring for consumers and providers alike.

“She will join a team committed to delivering a regulatory environment that supports and promotes access to justice, economic growth and the rule of law. The importance of this challenge cannot be understated and the value we will gain from Caroline’s breadth of expertise will be considerable.”

The LSB has also announced two new members of the Office for Legal Complaints, which is the board of the Legal Ombudsman. There are Stella Manzie CBE – a former local authority chief executive and senior civil servant – and Professor Philip Plowden, who is both a solicitor and barrister, and currently deputy vice chancellor at the University of Derby. They replace Margaret Doyle and Professor Mary Seneviratne, whose terms end on 31 March.

Meanwhile, Jordans Corporate Law – the alternative business structure set up by well-known legal name Jordans – has made its first major hire since receiving its licence by recruiting Shakespeares partner Simon Bates as head of commercial. He specialises in commercial contracts work and has advised on a number of Office of Fair Trading competition investigations.

Mr Bates said: “This is a very exciting time within the legal profession and I was really drawn to Jordans because I see the approach they are taking as leading the way in offering a new kind of service from the traditional practices – highly client focussed and very transparent in terms of pricing.

“The specialisms we offer within Jordans Corporate Law enable our clients to get on with their core business.”

The head of Jordans Corporate Law, Debbie Farman described the appointment as a “major step forward for our new business”.

She said: “With Simon’s breadth of experience in commercial law, he provides an invaluable added dimension to the company, and allows us to offer our clients a much broader range of solutions.”

Finally, it has emerged that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales has named Brian Yates as the chair of its probate committee, which will oversee the operation of the institute’s new scheme to grant members the right to conduct reserved probate work.

Mr Yates has a professional background in civil engineering and experience on a number of regulatory and consumer boards, including a period as chair of the Consumers Association, and a panel member for the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Board. The 10-strong board is to be split equally between lay and non-lay members.

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