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Same but different

Martin Coleman, SRA board member representing City firms' interests, tells Jean-Yves Gilg why one size can’t fit all when it comes to regulation

27 September 2010

When City firms hinted that they might apply to set up their own regulatory body, it was a wake-up call for both the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Law Society. They quickly realised more attention needed to be paid to a chunk of the profession which employs a quarter of all private practice solicitors – and rings in a much larger proportion of the profits generated by the legal services sector.

A new City office was opened by the SRA this year as a visible signal of its new-found commitment to the sector. It went on to declare its intention to create a ‘special relationship’ with large commercial firms. Five of its 16-strong board are now lawyers with a City background, including Martin Coleman, head of antitrust at Norton Rose – and the only one of two still in full-time practice in the Square Mile.

“There is a recognition that you can’t have a set of rules that covers on one hand global practices with hundreds of partners and on the other hand sma...

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