Solicitors Conference

Ideal for partners and senior managers with responsibility for a number of solicitor clients, our one-day conference will cover a wide range of practical issues.


Who should attend the conference

Mercia's Solicitors Conference is a must-attend event for any accountancy firms with solicitor clients.

Through this one-day virtual conference, you will get practical advice about all the latest changes and challenges currently facing the legal sector. Hear from the SRA and legal firms themselves on how you can add value to your clients.


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Full conference agenda

Matthew Byng, Solicitors Regulation Authority

This session will include:

  • Amendments to the SRA Accounts Rules – an overview of the recent accounts rules amendments that we have consulted on, next steps and timescales.
  • New SRA Accounts Rules guidance – an update on relevant Accounts rules guidance.
  • SRA data insights – latest regulatory insights on matters relating to the SRA Accounts Rules

James Wright, BlueSky Legal Finance & Management Solutions

This session will cover:

  • The qualities a ‘good’ COFA are likely to display and what poor; might look like.
  • How to spot banking facilities and the subtle differences that could bring a transaction from being compliant, to a breach.
  • How a COFA should deal with a suspense account.
  • Insider tips!

Janet Taylor, Taylor Mowbray

This session is aimed at ensuring that partners and managers continue to keep up to date with the latest developments in SRA Accounts Rules impacting them, as Reporting Accountants and their law firm clients.

  • Any SRA Accounts Rules changes over the last twelve months.
  • Updates to the SRA’s Guidance covering aspects of the rules.
  • The latest guidance from the ICAEW.
  • The top 5 reasons why reports are qualified and what the reporting accountants should be looking out for.

Jenny Staight, Hazlewoods

This session will cover:

  • The SRA’s attitude to financial stability
  • What might insurers or banks be looking out for
  • How to assist law firms with their cash flow management
  • The change of basis and what that means for tax planning

Sarah Charlton, Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM)

This session will cover:

  • Disbursement terminology in a law firm
  • Common mistakes to look out for
  • Recent case law and the subtle variations

Louise Conner, Mercia Group Ltd

Developing our communication and soft skills are essential for building successful working relationships, this will in turn boost our influencing skills.

A business advisors’ role is ever changing, so it is important to work on perfecting these techniques to ensure that we stand out over our competitors. This session will give you tips on the foundations of building strong relationships, as well as tips on how to enhance existing relationships. 

  • Developing communication skills
  • Self-Management
  • Relationship Building
  • Influencing

Conference speakers

Matthew Byng

Matthew joined the Solicitors Regulation Authority in January 2022 and plays a key role in delivering key elements of the SRA’s policy agenda. He currently leads on Accounts Rules policy and the SRAs response to the Competition Market Authority’s 2020 evaluation of the legal sectors response to the 2016 market study into the legal services sector. Matthew has previously developed Health and Social Care policy in Local Government. More recently he has led education and training policy at the specialist regulator, Social Work England, where he worked closely with key stakeholders and Department for Education and Department of Health and Social Care to implement revised Education & Training Standards and develop a new competency framework for trainee and newly qualified social workers.

James’ career in Legal Finance spans over 25 years, working in medium to large law firms, managing their legal finance functions.  His knowledge and experience in understanding the SRA Accounts Rules has enabled him to build processes and procedures to enable compliance.  James has written a number of practice and guidance notes, provided COFA mentoring solutions to law firms of all sizes and is a subject matter expert for LexisNexis on all things legal finance.  James launched a successful joint venture in 2021, BlueSky Legal Finance Solutions which provides end to end legal finance and management support to law firms of all sizes.

Janet Taylor

Janet spent over 10 years with a top 20 accounting firm heading up their specialist solicitors’ group. A highly experienced presenter with, Janet provides relevant and practical training on a number of financial issues for lawyers and accountants. Over the last 20 years she has regularly presented training on the SRA Accounts Rules to a wide range of accounting and law firms through in-house and public seminars. Clients have include several major international and national law firms as well as their reporting accountants. Janet is the Subject Matter Expert for the ICAEW’s Solicitors Advisory Group.

Jenny has been a part of the Hazlewoods Legal Team for 14 years, advising a portfolio of law firms on regulatory and compliance matters. She regularly presents at seminars and courses on the SRA Accounts Rules and other financial metrics affecting law firms. Jenny is also a director of the Institute of Legal Finance and Management, sits on their Executive Council and is their Financial Management and CILEX tutor.

Sarah Charlton

Sarah has a BSc (Hons) in Applied Accounting and is a Fellow member of the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants. Her career spans over 30 years working within the legal sector for both small and medium sized law firms, fulfilling roles from practice manager through to COFA. During her career she has worked with a number of legal regulators, professional bodies and government organisations. Sarah has been a member of the Institute of Legal Finance & Management (ILFM) throughout her career, qualifying as a Fellow member in 2005. Sarah also served as chairperson between 2010-2012 and continues to serve as a Council Member.

In early 2012 Sarah was invited by LexisNexis PSL to write several practice notes for their compliance software and subsequently became a panel expert for LexisNexis PSL on compliance. Sarah has worked with a number of legal regulators and professional bodies during her career providing practice management and accounting training competencies, an external advisor and the rewriting of accounting rules. Sarah instigated many of the ILFM practice notes and has played an active role in the re-writes such as; VAT for legal accounting, and billing guide. Sarah has also received the “Arun Bowl” twice during her career for voluntary contributions to the profession.

Louise Connor

Louise Conner is Mercia’s Management and Skills Trainer.

She has worked in the financial services industry for twenty-two years, eighteen of which have been within the Learning and Development arena.

This experience has allowed Louise to perfect her motivational coaching model. She has a diverse range of courses, focusing on transferable skills within the workplace.

Louise always aims to make her courses as interactive as possible to keep them fun and engaging. Her passion lies within training, and she always gets great job satisfaction from seeing people grow and develop along their career paths.


One Day Conference
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Previous Solicitors Conferences

Explore the programme of our previous Solicitors Conferences:

2022 Solicitors Conference