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The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) is to carry out a trial inspection at DLA Piper as it seeks to develop protocols for regulating City firms.
The news comes as the Law Society appointed former Beachcroft senior partner Lord David Hunt to chair a review of how the profession is regulated (TheLawyer.com, 16 October).
The watchdog is understood to have written to a number of City firms requesting support for developing new protocols. Clifford Chance opened its door to the regulator for a “dummy inspection” in May, general counsel Chris Perrin said.
DLA Piper chief risk officer Julia Graham said: “Regulation can either be a pain or an opportunity – an opportunity to step back and talk through what’s expected on both sides.”
The SRA has come in for criticism for failing to address issues associated with regulating City firms.
“The SRA spends 95 per cent of its time on three-partner firms or less,” added Graham. “It’s not surprising that they don’t know how City firms work.”
The week-long visit is expected at the end of the year, with the regulator inspecting all practice areas.
“It will be time-consuming for us, but firms have got to help the regulator develop,” said Graham. “We can’t criticise the SRA for not listening if we don’t talk to it.”