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199 Strand has become the largest-ever civil set to break up, citing the pressures of competition, consolidation and less litigation as causes.
On Wednesday 30 November, the 40-member set agreed to dissolve on 28 February 2006, giving members time to find new homes.
Business development director Martin Griffiths told The Lawyer: "What's provoked this is that a couple of people have decided, for purely personal reasons, that their professional futures lay elsewhere." He said the set believed that it no longer had the necessary critical mass in core practice areas to compete in the current climate.
The chambers focused on professional negligence, personal injury, employment and property work. 199 Strand has operated under its current name and from its current location for 15 years, having moved from 2 Harcourt Buildings in 1990. It had just negotiated a new lease for a further 15 years, which would have seen members contribute £10,000 each towards a deposit and capitalisation.
The set is the second to dissolve in the last 12 months following the closure of clinical negligence specialist 6 Pump Court in January.