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SRA

The Law Society of England and Wales has, since the early 1990s, fought a rear-guard action against the engagement of solicitors in counter-money laundering efforts. The Regulator, which was first a division of the Law Society and then spun off to become a ludicrously politically charged enforcer of any passing social fad had, at that time the correct view that solicitors were within the scope of the original Money Laundering Regulations. At last, the regulator, now known as the Solicitors (sic) Regulatory Authority (it's so trendy it doesn't use an apostrophe where its name demands one) has decided that money laundering is something it needs to pay attention to. The Law Society is on a war footing, declaring the SRA's action "an assault."

It would be easy to think of dozens of bad-taste humorous comments to make about the conduct of Iain Farrimond but to do so would be terribly cruel. The circumstances in which he has found himself are awful but so serious that there can be no alternative to serious punishment.

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In the past 25 years or so, the level of professionalism in the solicitors branch has fallen dramatically as thieves, vagabonds, chancers and businessmen, "right-on" campaigners and the barely literate have taken over the once proud profession. But there have, generally, been beacons that remind us what the Profession shoulda, coulda, woulda become if the correct decisions had been made by government and the self-regulatory bodies that control it. One of those has always been Clyde & Co. How, then, has this (in City terms) small, highly professional outfit, ended up before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal and the firm, and three partners, being fined? And what lessons are there for other law firms? (updated)

There are those who misguidedly think that the world would be better off without lawyers. The UK legal profession's problem is that it has for so long abandoned its long-standing principles that it's become utterly rotten from within. Add in the deliberate destruction of the profession by successive governments and it's no surprise that there is a crisis from which few will emerge unscathed.

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The Solicitors Regulation Authority, which regulates solicitors in England and Wales, is to cease development of a database of retired solicitors who wish to remain on the Roll. Apparently, the Roll a costa lot.

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