“Jessica Clay has an amazing eye for detail and brilliant practical knowledge – an absolute star in her field who combines industry know-how with excellent judgement and superb all-round knowledge of the law.”

Legal 500 UK 2022

“Jessica Clay combines industry know-how with excellent judgement and a superb all-round knowledge of the law.”

Legal 500 UK 2022

“Julie Norris and senior associate Jessica Clay are the best team I have worked with in terms of human intelligence and strategy. Compassion and emotional intelligence are a much under-used quality in the profession and they both have it in abundance."

Legal 500 UK 2022

“Iain Miller. Julie Norris and senior associate Jessica Clay are all outstanding – easy to deal with, fabulous with clients, and fantastic for detail and the bigger picture”.

Legal 500 UK 2022

"Has expert level knowledge in legal regulation and wider public law experience.”

A client

Jessica is a Partner with over a decade’s worth of experience specialising in legal services regulation. Jessica’s work focuses on advising law firm LLPs, partnerships and their members, including magic circle, global and international law firms. Jessica advises on a range of regulatory matters, including compliance and authorisation, reporting obligations and law firm culture. Most recently, Jessica has advised on high-profile AML and sexual misconduct matters where there are highly contentious and sensitive issues to be addressed and when things have gone wrong (typically where a partner is accused of serious professional misconduct). More broadly, Jessica’s clients in the legal sector include those who are subject to regulatory investigations and any subsequent disciplinary proceedings, as well as those seeking regulatory advice about their regulatory and ethical obligations, changes to business structures, authorisation processes, and those facing public law challenges.

Having worked for a legal services regulator and provided advice to colleagues handling complex disciplinary cases, Jessica understands first-hand, how allegations are considered and on what basis decisions are made. This provides a unique and valuable insight to her clients, enabling her to better understand the full range of regulatory outcomes and the ones more likely to be imposed, as well as thinking of other creative solutions leading to the resolution of cases. Jessica is known for having an eagle eye for detail but never losing sight of the bigger picture for her clients. She will consider all the options available and will seek to obtain the best outcomes she can for clients, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Jessica regularly advises regulators in the legal sector and beyond, where she provides policy and strategy, regulatory reform, governance and litigation advice and advises on extensive drafting projects, as well as delivering training on focus areas.

Jessica’s early legal regulatory career was spent in private practice, before moving in-house, first at the Legal Services Board (LSB) and then at the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Jessica joined Kingsley Napley in July 2019. Having worked both in private practice and in-house, gaining experience both in prosecution and defence, ensures that she is ideally placed to advise regulated professionals on how a regulator may view alleged conduct, what action may follow, and how best to defend any allegation.

Jessica is Deputy Editor of the leading textbook on legal services regulation, Cordery on Legal Services.

What clients and directories say

An effective team player who role models the combination of intellectual rigour and speed of delivery which clients need in this area of law.”

A client

I always knew if I instructed Jessica to do something, it would be done thoroughly, to a high standard and with thought”

A client

Recent work

  • Advising an international law firm in respect of allegations of serious sexual misconduct, including the commissioning of an independent investigation to look into the allegations made.
  • Advising a law firm LLP as to its regulatory obligations in respect of the SRA and preparing an initial notification to the SRA and supporting the firm in its cooperation with its regulator in respect of any ensuing investigation.
  • Acting as an international law firm’s go-to regulatory adviser on all SRA regulatory matters, as well as the firm’s on-going compliance with its regulatory obligations. This includes advising on queries relating to SRA authorisation and corporate structures from a regulatory standpoint and any other queries it has relating to its regulatory obligations. Many of these queries can be urgent and of major significance to the firm’s compliance with its SRA obligations.
  • Advising a law firm partner in respect of allegations of inappropriate conduct made against them.
  • Advising a law firm partner in respect of allegations made against them relating to breaches of anti-money laundering regulations and associated firm policies.
  • Advising a law firm partner in respect of allegations (including bullying, discrimination, victimisation and detrimental treatment) made against them.
  • Designing and running bespoke training sessions for law firms to highlight best-practice in the area of legal services regulation and specifically, ethical obligations and law firm culture.
  • Advising a regulator on a review of its disciplinary scheme and drafting new regulations.
  • Advising legal services regulators on governance issues, their statutory powers and other ad-hoc issues arising.

 

Professional societies and memberships

 

Articles and publications

 

Related Services

Insight from Jessica

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Blogs

Preventing solicitor burn-out: more than ‘just an HR issue’

A review of the SRA's Upholding Professional Standards Report 2018/19

No strike-off for dishonesty: A case law review of exceptional circumstances

Post-Beckwith – where to now for sexual misconduct cases?

The use of artificial intelligence: interesting technological developments in the legal and accountancy sectors

Technology in the accountancy and legal sectors – what are the regulators doing? The long read…

The SRA Standards and Regulations – a year on

Innovation and Regulation – Necessary Bedfellows

Are you getting complacent with compliance?

An independent, strong, diverse and effective legal profession – if at first you don’t succeed, try try again, but how many chances do we need?

Sexual misconduct allegations in law firms are ever-present – following due process is key

“Regulation beyond the echo chambers”: who is listening?

Promoting a good working culture in law firms - Part 3: The importance of equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) initiatives in promoting a good working culture

Promoting a good working culture in law firms - Part 2: The importance of wellbeing in the workplace

COVID-19: If you get a fixed penalty notice for non-compliance with lockdown measures – do you have to tell the Solicitors Regulation Authority?

Promoting a good working culture in law firms - Part 1: What is a manager's role?

Guidance and updates for regulated legal professionals during Coronavirus pandemic

Covid 19 - a reminder for solicitors and law firms about their regulatory obligations

Firms need to put legal ethics at the heart of their business

StaRs: Reporting concerns - understanding your obligations

Understanding the new SRA Principles and Code: the long read

What will the StaRs mean for you?

Reach for the StaRs!

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