Message from the Chairwoman 2021 - Joanna Connolly

Joanna Connolly

I was honoured to be elected Chair of the SPG on 10 October 2021.

On behalf of the executive committee and our members, I would like to thank Penny Raby, my predecessor, for everything she has done as chair of the SPG for the last 2 and a half years.

Penny safely guided the SPG through the choppy waters of the COVID pandemic and initiated measures such as the highly successful web seminars and improvements to the SPG website.

It is my intention to carry on where Penny has left off. I will continue constructive and positive interaction and dialogue with our regulators and the Law Society. I  will continue to approve engagement with our members and further improvements to the SPG website, adding new features that will be of assistance to our  members. This will include an interactive forum area, where members can communicate with each other, learn from one another and refer cases to each other. All  suggestions are welcome!

I am also pleased to announce that Dorcas Falode has agreed to take on the important role as Chair of of the new Pastoral Care, Health and Wellness committee which will also form the basis of another new section within the website and Solo magazine moving forward.

The solicitors indemnity fund (SIF) closure is a key issue that affects sole practitioners more than others. Clive and the committee will continue to act in our members interests with the current consultation process.   It is foremost in my mind that a significant number of those affected by the closure of SIF are former sole practitioners who have retired and closed their practices. Their run off cover will by now have expired and they will not be able to obtain any future insurance cover. This also of course affects members of the general public who will be unable to obtain recompense where required, should the circumstance be applicable.

Next year’s conference will be held in the UK, due to the continuing fall out of the COVID pandemic, changing travel restrictions and the ensuing uncertainty. The conference will be held over the weekend 24th – 26th June 2022 and the proposed venue is Carden Park Hotel and Spa near Chester. Final negotiations are currently underway. Please see the separate brochure, which gives an indication of the huge range of facilities and activities at this resort, which is a destination in itself. The conference will be as always, an opportunity to meet and interact with our regulators as well as other sole practitioners and members of the law profession. The weekend will be a mix of work and play, covering a wide variety of topics, networking, group discussions, learning and entertainment. We look forward to meeting new and existing members and your families.

I am looking forward to representing you and your fellow members, providing your collective voice to our regulators and welcome your suggestions as to how to develop your group – the Solicitors Sole Practitioners Group.

Joanna Connolly