UK law firm Shoosmiths has announced their head of personal advisory, Richard Follis, is to become the firm’s first general counsel (GC), effective 1 May 2021.
The new GC role is to enhance focus on managing the increasing compliance burden required to support business activity and will take on the quality and risk responsibilities that currently sit with the chairman. The GC will also formalise and build on the arrangements under which the firm’s own legal needs are served.
Richard joined the firm in 2006, first as head of clinical negligence, then from 2013 practice group head of private client; most recently as head of the personal advisory division (PAD) which encompasses all consumer legal services within Shoosmiths, including wealth protection, conveyancing and serious injury. Under his leadership the division has grown service lines that support the firm’s strategic vision, moving into more complex and higher value work.
David Parton, head of conveyancing, will succeed Richard as divisional head. David has been with the firm for 30 years, becoming head of conveyancing in 1997 and in 2012 head of office Northampton. He is a nationally respected leader in the conveyancing field and has built a range of senior contacts from across the personal advisory world, while developing our market leading solicitor conveyancing business with partners and colleagues. During his time with the firm he has also overseen many of the positive transformations at the firm’s largest office. David will step down from the office head role as a result of this appointment.
Richard said: “I’m excited to begin this new chapter, supporting the firm as compliance officer for legal practice to do business safely in an increasingly regulated world and freeing up our chair to increase his external focus. At the same time, I am delighted to hand over to David. PAD has come a very long way since 2006, having leading offerings across wealth protection, conveyancing and serious injury. The division will be in very capable hands to move forwards to further develop our services and support the firm’s strategic goals.”
David said: “I am really excited by this opportunity, and hope to build on past achievements and our ambitions to host the most successful personal advisory suite of services of any law firm in the UK – complementing the fast growing strength and reputation of our commercial businesses.”
Simon Boss, Shoosmiths CEO, said: “I am very pleased Richard will be taking this new role on from May this year. As our first general counsel, he will be able to take on the leadership of our Q&R team and build on all the good work led and undertaken by our chairman, Peter Duff, over the last few years, enabling the growth, development and success of the firm.
“We are also very pleased with the appointment of David as head of personal advisory, after having built one of the largest and most successful solicitors’ conveyancing offerings in the UK. I am sure he will add to the fantastic work Richard has done and help us to grow even further.”
As a result of David’s new role, Suman Dally – who has been with the firm for 21 years and a partner since 2005 - will take over as head of conveyancing. She will also take over as joint head of the firm’s Northampton office with personal injury partner Sharine Burgess.