The SRA’s annual COLP and COFA conference was yet another grand affair, taking over Birmingham’s International Convention Centre with BBC News’ Clive Myrie as the master of ceremonies.
The SRA is keen on firms being transparent about money, so we look forward to seeing details about the cost of the one-day event on its own website (Myrie’s price range, according to his website, is £5,000-£7,000).
After last year’s embarrassment, when a disgruntled client sneaked into the conference and took to the stage during a Q&A, the SRA didn’t open the floor to questions. What a shame to scrap the best bit.
However, entertainment could be found in the plenary session on ethics – a chance to quiz SRA top brass about scenarios that could or could not get solicitors in trouble. A most remarkable takeaway from this session was hearing that a solicitor had approached the regulator to check whether he could be, as his client wished, gifted £200,000 and property worth £1.5m.
‘I don’t even get a bunch of flowers from my clients,’ called out one of many flabbergasted delegates. Obiter is pleased to report the lucky solicitor did all the right things, ensuring his generous client took independent legal advice, wrote in detail why she was leaving him so much, and even took a mental competency test.
Most of the time, the SRA had answers to various dilemmas, but one question left the panel stumped. ‘We recognise your problem without giving you a solution,’ said the SRA representative. Finally something the room could agree on.