News release

Six new members appointed to the SRA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee

Six new members have been appointed to the SRA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

The new members are Caroline Armitage, a corporate and commercial lawyer who is also Chair of the Trustee Board of the UK disability charity Livability; Jemima Coleman an employment lawyer at the international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills LLP; Uday Dholakia a UK entrepreneur and champion of small business, better regulation and international trade; Mike Franklin a former Commissioner with the Independent Police Complaints Commission; Ruth Grant a partner with Hogan Lovells International LLP and former London Managing Partner; and Sophie Khan, solicitor-director of Sophie Khan & Co Solicitors and Higher Court Advocates, a niche firm specialising in civil liberties and human rights law.

Chair of the SRA Board Enid Rowlands said: "We are committed to supporting a more diverse and inclusive legal profession; a profession truly representative of the diverse communities it serves. At the same time, we recognise the SRA must also progress as a diverse and inclusive organisation - reflecting sector change and ensuring that in every aspect of regulation the SRA is proportionate, fair and free from bias. Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee is central to driving improvements and successfully achieving these aims."

Jane Furniss, Chair of the SRA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee said: "I am absolutely delighted to be able to welcome so many new faces to our Committee. Drawn from an extremely strong field of candidates, they bring a wealth of experience and expertise to our work."

Note to editors

  • Caroline Armitage has 25 years of experience as a corporate and commercial lawyer in London and the south east. Between 1992 and 2012 she worked as a partner first at the Sussex law firm Burstows and then was equity partner at Thomas Eggar LLP. She currently carries out interim legal and strategic consultancy work with Avocet Consulting Limited. In 2012 Caroline was appointed Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Blind Society charity which merged with a larger charity in summer 2014. Since July 2013 Caroline has been Chair of Trustees at Livability which cares for around 1000 severely disabled people a day.

  • Jemima Coleman, an employment lawyer at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, has particular expertise in equalities and discrimination law and has chaired a working party of the Employment Lawyers Association's Legislative and Policy Committee on Women in the Workplace. She gave evidence before a House of Commons select committee on this topic. Jemima has published widely on gender balance on corporate boards, executive remuneration reform and corporate governance reporting requirements. She is a steering committee member of the Women Lawyers Network at her firm.

  • Uday Dholakia has championed the interests of small businesses, better regulation and international trade for 30 years. He is an entrepreneur who started his first business at just 15. He went on to run the Leicestershire Business Venture and establish the UK's first dedicated enterprise agency, and he has done work for Leicester City Council and the Department of Trade and Industry. He has been designated an SME expert by the European Commission. Uday has been involved at national level on issues such as: policing; consumer protection: electricity regulation; business policy; telecoms regulation; broadcasting regulation; aviation regulation; the Competition Commission review of banks and SMEs; and the government's Review of the Regulatory Reform Act 2001.

  • Mike Franklin served as Commissioner with the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) in the North West Region from 2003 to 2005 and was Commissioner for the London and South East Region from 2008 to 2013. He became HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary from 2000 to 2003 and acted as a Specialist Assistant Inspector, Race and Diversity across 43 police forces in England and Wales. Mike has also served on the TUC race relations committee. He was also IPCC Commissioner for the Serious Organised Crime Agency and during his time as IPCC Commissioner investigated: fatal police shootings; deaths in custody; stop and search; racism allegations; counter terrorism powers; corruption ; sexual offences; and domestic violence related murders.

  • Ruth Grant is a partner in Hogan Lovells International LLP and former London Managing Partner. She co-chairs Hogan Lovells' global diversity committee and leads the London office diversity committee. She has a particular focus on recruitment of black minority ethnic and socially disadvantaged graduates, and the progression of women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual lawyers in the profession. She is on the firm's Citizenship Panel. Ruth received the 2012 Association of Women Solicitors Award for Best Woman Solicitor Retaining and Developing Legal Talent. She is a member of the Law Society Women Lawyers Division Steering Committee and the City of London Law Society Training Committee.

  • Sophie Khan, a solicitor-advocate, is solicitor-director at Sophie Khan & Co Solicitors and Higher Court Advocates, a niche firm specialising in civil liberties and human rights law. She is a campaigning lawyer who has actively campaigned on equality issues within the legal profession and other organisations such as the police service. Sophie is also a community activist and founding trustee of Stop and Search Legal Project, an educational project run by volunteer lawyers. Sophie has recently been appointed to the Law Society's Small Firms Committee and has been a Committee Member of the Law Society's Civil Justice Committee for the last five years.

Appointment process

The competitive appointment process was supported by recruitment agency Davidson and Partners. The appointment panel comprised: Jane Furniss, Chair of the SRA Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee and SRA Board Member; Moni Mannings, SRA Board Member; Bill Galvin SRA Board Member; Judy Clements OBE, Chief Adjudicator for the HMRC who was the independent member of the panel; and Richard Collins, SRA Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Performance. A total of 64 applications for the lay and solicitor posts was received.

The SRA's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy underpins the achievement of objectives set out in the SRA's Corporate Strategy and Business Plan.