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Legal Services Board begins hunt for new chief executive

Buckley: Pleased with what we have achieved

The Legal Services Board (LSB) is on the hunt for its fourth chief executive in nine years after Neil Buckley decided to stand down after just over three years in the role.

Neil Buckley will stay in post until late summer or until a successor has been appointed, after which he intends to stop full-time work and pursue a non-executive portfolio career.

The LSB said it would start the process of recruiting his successor immediately. The previous occupants of the role were Chris Kenny and Richard Moriarty.

Among the key moments of his time in the role was the LSB slapping the Law Society with the first public censure of its kind for the way it oversaw the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and the Bar Standards Board and Chartered Institute of Legal Executives winning approval to become alternative business structure regulators.

There was also the then Lord Chancellor rejecting the LSB’s recommendation that the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales be allowed to regulate all the reserved legal activities in relation to tax affairs.

Mr Buckley, who joined the LSB from Ofcom, where he was director of investigations, said: “It has been a pleasure to lead the LSB over the last three and a half years.

“I am extremely pleased with what we have achieved as an organisation during that time, none of which would have been possible without the support of the board and its staff, as well as the positive contributions of those who have taken the time to meet and engage with us.”

LSB chair Dr Helen Phillips added: “Neil has made a very significant contribution to the work of the Legal Services Board and to the development of constructive relationships with our stakeholders.

“While we seek his replacement, I’m very grateful that Neil will continue to lead the LSB in delivering its comprehensive work programme, including work on the proposed five-year policy objectives in our draft business plan 2019-20.”

The draft business plan [1] laid out some controversial measures, including a review of the rules that currently allow the Law Society to levy £30m on solicitors for its representative work, and amounts taken by other legal bodies in similar positions, and looking again at the question of assuring practitioners’ continuing competence.

Mr Buckley qualified as a solicitor in 1990 and worked for a number of City law firms, specialising in international private arbitration. He has a Masters degree in regulation from the London School of Economics.