Friday 15 March 2013

Small law firms more likely to be considered high risk by SRA

Large UK law firms are less likely than small ones to face interventions by the SRA according to an intervention agent working for the regulator.

Speaking at the recent Managing Partner’s annual Anti-money Laundering Compliance for Law Firms conference, Philip Barden, head of litigation and dispute resolution at Devonshires, said that small law firms were more vulnerable.

“A larger law firm is more likely to be able to persuade the regulator that its clients are not at risk,” said Barden, who has been an intervention agent for the SRA for ten years.

Ahead of the recent Blakemores intervention he predicted that there would likely be a “big increase” in the number of regulatory interventions in future, which have averaged at about 60 a year in the past ten years. So far in 2013 there are already eight firms in intensive supervision where intervention is highly probable and a further 48 where intervention is possible.

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