The Solicitors Regulation Authority has again maintained the City bias on its board with its latest batch of appointments.
In all, five new members will take their seats around the table from January, of which two are solicitors: Geoff Nicholls, a senior partner at City firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and City-trained Barry Matthews, director of legal affairs and third party sales at broadcaster ITV.
They replace Norton Rose partner Martin Coleman and Dentons consultant Cindy Leslie.
This time last year two outgoing City-based board members were replaced by two more as well.
Of the three other solicitor board members, one is also a City lawyer – Moni Mannings, a finance partner at Olswang – and 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 a consultant with 15-partner Downs Solicitors in Surrey.
Mr Matthews founded the Legal Social Mobility Partnership in 2014, which aims to promote diversity in the legal profession.
The board has a lay majority and the three new lay members are:
- Accountant Sharon Darcy, a council member of Which? and, among other things, one of the first lay members to be appointed to the House of Commons’ Committee on Standards;
- Dame Denise Platt DBE, who has a professional background in social care and whose “portfolio of interests” include being chair of the National AIDS Trust and a member of the General Medical Council; and
- Deep Sagar, a non-executive director and management consultant who chairs the National Police Chiefs Council’s audit and assurance board and has been member of the Law Society of Scotland’s professional practice committee and the Health Professions Council. The SRA said Mr Sagar “has long and varied experience with solicitors. He chaired the Leasehold Advisory Service – largely staffed by solicitors – recently, for example”.
The trio replace Graham Chisnall, Bill Galvin and Peter Phippen.
SRA chair Enid Rowlands said: “I’m delighted to announce that we have five such distinguished appointees joining our board in the New Year. They will bring a wealth of insight, experience and expertise and I am looking forward to working with them to protect the public and set the standards for solicitors, as we reform our regulatory model.”
Six of the 15 members of the SRA board are women.