Cheshire East Council

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Specialist public services solicitor sets up Bar Standards Board-regulated entity

A solicitor who specialises in advising mutuals and other employee-led organisations spun out of local authorities has set up one of the first entities to be regulated by the Bar Standards Board.

Mark Johnson ran TPP Law for 12 years before the business was merged with Geldards in 2013. He left the firm in February this year.

Johnson told Local Government Lawyer that his new venture, Elderflower Solutions, would target not-for profit bodies, academy trusts, social enterprises and employee-led organisations, particularly those emerging from councils and NHS spin-outs.

He will also seek to advise owner-managed businesses on compliance and commercial issues, acting in a ‘triage’ role.

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Elderflower Solutions will initially concentrate on organisations within a 30-mile radius of Manchester. The plan is to recruit legal assistants in due course to help with day-to-day work.

On his choice of the BSB as entity regulator, Johnson said he had been looking for a business model that was proportionate in terms of the burden of regulation and accessible when it came to costs and insurance.

He said the arrangements for insurance – through the Bar Mutual – was a particular attraction. “They are not subject to the turbulence you have seen with insurers in the open market,” he added.

Johnson will continue to hold a practising certificate and be regulated as an individual by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

He will act as Head of Legal Practice at Elderflower Solutions, while his wife will be Head of Finance and Administration.

The business is the only one of the first group of 12 BSB-regulated bodies not to have full rights of audience.

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