Can I manage a branch office of a solicitors firm or head a
department within the firm?
Chapter 7 of the Solicitors
Code of Conduct 2011 concerns business management of law
firms. The onus is on the firm to ensure it is complies
with this rule and has the appropriate management structures in
place. The overarching responsibility for the management of the
business rests with the managers. The managers should determine
what arrangements are appropriate to meet the outcomes set out in
The partners of a law firm can delegate
management responsibilities to any employee (including
non-solicitors) if that employee is suitably experienced and
competent. A Fellow could be considered suitability experienced and
competent. However, the firm would need to be able to
demonstrate this to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
Under Rule 12 of the
SRA Practice Framework Rules 2011, firms must have a manager or
sole practitioner who is “qualified to supervise”. This means
they must have been practising for at least three years in the past
ten years and have completed the training specified from time to
time by the SRA for this purpose.
The person ‘qualified to supervise’ does not
have to be personally entitled by law to supervise all work
undertaken by the firm. However, an important part of that person’s
responsibilities is to ensure that unqualified persons do not
undertake reserved work except under the supervision of a suitably
qualified person. Firms must also meet Outcome 7.7 of
complying with the statutory requirements for the direction and
supervision of reserved legal activities and immigration work.
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