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Sophie Lessar


Sophie Lessar focuses on retail financial services. She advises particularly on payment services, banking products, lending and consumer law. Product development, regulatory change and compliance matters and the contractual framework for projects in this space are at the heart of her work in this space.

Sophie works with businesses at the interface between commercial contractual and regulatory considerations when innovative new products are being designed.

She advises on the digitisation of regulated products and the launch of novel products, bringing her regulatory insight to the design of regulated products and contractual structures.

Sophie advises on the contractual frameworks and partnership arrangements for the delivery of regulated products via platforms and co-operation arrangements. She advises on systems and processes implementation for regulated products, including delivery and frameworks for collaborations of this type, as well as ongoing compliance.

Time on secondment to the legal and compliance teams of UK retail banks, global banks and fintech business, is part of Sophie’s first-hand domestic and international experience of launching new products, supporting businesses in the context of an evolving regulatory landscape and managing regulatory risk.

Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales


  • Advising a major retail bank on the launch of a new payments product. Management of regulatory risk drove the commercial structures put in place. Regulatory boundaries had to be maintained in a user-friendly environment. The regulatory framework for the product structure dictated the roles and responsibilities of the parties via their contractual relationship.
  • Supporting a challenger bank on the partnership with a third party regulated firm for the delivery of a new regulated product through the bank’s own digital platform.
  • Working with an international payments platform on managing regulatory considerations relating to the offering of a novel foreign exchange product.
  • Advising on the implementation of both Payment Services Directives. This work covers systems, processes, partnerships with third parties, customer terms and secure customer authentication particularly through digital channels.
  • Assisting firms in the design of customer journeys for regulated lending, payments and banking products, the content of customer terms and how they are presented in the context of consumer and unfair terms regulation. In particular, Sophie advises on the use of digital channels and communications to achieve effective compliance.
  • Producing international guidance for a global financial services firm for the roll-out of digital products and portals.
  • English
  • University of Oxford, Geography, MA (Oxon), 2001
  • Nottingham Law School, Graduate Diploma in Law, Legal Practice Course

Prior Experience

Sophie was at a London based international law firm, where she also trained, from 2005 to 2020.