Guy Barnett, the former managing partner of collapsed Midlands firm Blakemores, has been granted a practising certificate subject to conditions.
The SRA this week also confirmed ‘conduct issues’ are being investigated relating to him.
Barnett was at the helm of one of the biggest law firm closures in recent years. Blakemores, owner of consumer brand Lawyers2you, was intervened in by the regulator and shut down in March 2013, with the loss of over 200 jobs.
Barnett told the Gazette at the time there was no question of impropriety in the firm’s downfall and that the intervention was due to the effects of the recession. Barnett himself entered an individual voluntary arrangement and Blakemores entered administration.
According to the terms of his new PC, agreed in April but only published yesterday, Barnett may act only as a solicitor in employment, and cannot act as a sole practitioner, manager or owner of any firm.
He is required to inform any prospective employer of these conditions and the reasons for their imposition.
The conditions differ slightly from the terms of his PC for 2013/14, when he was required to make an application to the SRA if he wanted to become a manager or owner of a law firm. No such provision appears to exist in the current certificate.
At the time of intervention, the SRA said it had intervened on the firm ‘in order to protect the interests of clients (or former or potential clients), or the interests of the beneficiaries of any trust of which Blakemores Solicitors LDP or any of the partners of Blakemores Solicitors LDP is or was a trustee’.
The firm was founded in 1961 by Roger Blakemore and expanded rapidly under Barnett, with Lawyers2you stands a regular feature of shopping centres and airports.
In 2010, Blakemores was awarded the title ‘Most Innovative Marketing Idea 2010’ by consultancy 360 Legal Group for launching Lawyers2you, one of the UK’s first direct consumer legal marketing brands.