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Editor's blog | Sub-primes for lawyers

Atteys and Blakemores were the legal profession's Lehman Brothers, but will the SRA go the same way as RBS?

15 March 2013

It is nearly lunchtime on 13 March at the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s City offices. Halfway through the regulator’s monthly board meeting, policy director Richard Collins reveals that before the first quarter of 2013 is even over, the SRA is about to spend £1.8m, more than its total annual intervention budget, dealing with the aftermaths of the collapse of two large regional firms, Atteys and Blakemores. This estimate, together with a few thousands of pounds spent on smaller interventions, also represents 10 per cent of the SRA’s annual operating budget. As the news sinks in that the regulator could be running out of cash, Collins shares additional observations about the profession’s general health. Other firms are under the equivalent of intensive care, he says, undermining the regulator’s financial position further to the point that the profession itself may ultimately have to pick up the rising costs of intervention...

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