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Accreditation appeals panel members

Chris Smyth - chair

Chris is a management and business consultant.

Admitted as a solicitor in 1980, Chris worked for a large regional firm for 10 years before moving in-house with Cheltenham & Gloucester plc. There, he undertook a variety of management and legal roles, finally as company secretary and general counsel.

He retired from the company in 2010 and is now runs his own management and business consultancy. He has been involved in a variety of projects for a number of different professional clients, industry regulators and trade associations.

Stephen Drake

Stephen is the CEO of Steeles Law Solicitors Limited.

Stephen was admitted as a solicitor in 1984 and trained and worked for eight years with two London practices before relocating to Norfolk.

At Steeles Law he led the dispute resolution department, becoming a partner in 1992 before taking over as managing partner in 2007 and becoming CEO on incorporation of the practice in 2013.

Stephen was instrumental in the firm obtaining its Lexcel and CQS accreditations and is responsible for the firm’s compliance and maintenance thereof.

Outside of the law, Stephen is currently a trustee of Age UK Norfolk and a governor of a local Academy School.

Anu Kapila

Anu is head of risk and compliance at Russell-Cooke Solicitors.

After qualifying as a solicitor in 1992, Anu spent several years practicing in commercial litigation before moving into the regulatory and compliance arena. 

At Russell-Cooke Solicitors, Anu’s role is to work with partners and their teams in relation to risk management, regulatory compliance and governance. 

Anu has previously been a member of the SRA's Risk and Compliance Committee. 

Victor Olowe

Victor Olowe is a leadership consultant at Winzest Consulting, specialising in treating customers fairly and profitably. Prior to this role, he was chief executive of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers for five years.

Victor is a non-executive council member of the Property Ombudsman and serves as a member of the their disciplinary and standards committee.

He is currently a non-executive director for the consumer codes approved board established by the Trading Standards Institute. He is also a lay non-executive member of the professional conduct committee of the Bar Standards Board and a governor at Morley College.

Previous roles include being head of practice standards at the Law Society/Solicitors Regulation Authority, quality manager with Pictons Solicitors, liaison manager at the former Legal Aid Board and a non-executive lay member of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme Assessment Panel.

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