SRA urged to revaluate conclusions on in-house solicitors

updated on 26 May 2023

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has been urged to revaluate its conclusions of a review it made of the in-house sector, with the regulator being criticised for “understating” the severity and risks faced by general counsel (GC).  

Paul Philip, chief executive of the SRA, came under particular fire for stating that the SRA’s findings from its in-house review are “generally encouraging”.  

Since then, a significant number of GCs have come forward on LinkedIn to express their discontent with this assessment, including: Maaike de Bie, group GC of Vodafone group; Elizabeth Dyce, group GC at Innovation Group Global; Richard Given, group GC at Openpayd; Ben Watts, GC at Kent County Council; and former Lawtech UK director Jenifer Swallow. 

GCs stated that not only is the review “misrepresentative” and “inadequate”, but also “it doesn’t reflect the collective experience in-house”. The response also suggested that the SRA’s review “offers insufficient action and support in addressing concerns in the interests of stakeholders and society”. 

While GCs noted that the data the SRA gathered was useful, they said that the “review’s conclusions are not supported by that data”. The SRA has described its report as “a first step”, stating that it’ll “welcome all feedback” on its assessment. 

The SRA has been urged to rethink its assessment to ensure that the risks are correctly understood, framed and addressed. 

To coincide with its review, the SRA hosted a 'Working in-house: challenges, priorities and opportunities' event, which was attended by more than 130 in-house solicitors with the discussion centring around the issues at hand, practical tips and suggestions to help inform the SRA’s future work.