In the Media

SRA courts BME solicitors and sole practitioners

PUBLISHED August 30, 2012

Thursday 30 August 2012 by Catherine Baksi

The Solicitors Regulation Authority has invited black and minority ethnic (BME) solicitors to attend a workshop on outcomes-focused regulation (OFR) as part of its programme of 'constructive engagement' with stakeholders.

The regulator, which has been dogged by allegations of institutional racism, is running two free interactive workshops on its new regulatory approach specifically aimed at BME lawyers. They will look at how the SRA supervises practices, including the importance of constructive engagement; the reporting duties of compliance officers for legal practice, and finance and administration; and how to avoid enforcement action.

Firms will also be given information about financial management, including how to manage financial difficulties and avoid making common mistakes that can ultimately lead to serious regulatory issues.

Earlier this month the SRA announced that Professor Gus John will carry out an independent comparative case review to determine if there is any evidence of racism in the way the SRA investigates BME solicitors.

The SRA, which the Society of Black Lawyers earlier this year accused of 'institutional racism', has always denied any bias, saying that most complaints are made about solicitors at small firms - and most BME solicitors work at small firms.

The events qualify for 2 CPD hours. The first will take place on Wednesday 17 October at the Law Society in Chancery Lane from 2.30- 5.15pm. The second will be held in Birmingham on Wednesday 5 December at De Vere venues, Colmore Gate.

The SRA is also planning to run a series of events for sole practitioners on OFR. The first will take place at the Oxford Hotel in Oxford on Wednesday 26 September from 2.30-6.30pm. It qualifies for 3 CPD hours.

SRA director of inclusion Mehrunnisa Lalani said: 'In the past, the SRA has organised a lot of roadshows aimed at the profession in general. These events are designed to be more tailored to the specific needs of both sectors.'

She said: 'In organising workshops specifically aimed at BME solicitors, we have always engaged in partnership working with this sector as part of our ongoing programme of constructive engagement with stakeholders and to cover any specific issues which are relevant to them.'

Lalani added: 'The Sole Practitioners Group (SPG) requested that we provide events aimed particularly at small firms and we responded to this because we want to make sure we address any concerns they may have.'

To book a place for BME event on 17 October email

For more details or to book a place for the sole practitioners' event, contact the SPG chair Lubna Shuja, on Tel: 0121 551 7866 or email: