Fraud and crime specialist set 2 Hare Court has taken the first steps to prepare itself for a future merger with a law firm.
The set has appointed a chambers director as part of the financial restructuring plans that it believes may be necessary for establishing formal ties with a firm of solicitors. Although the chambers is not directly preparing for merger with a law firm, it accepts that this may soon become a reality following the Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) recent proposals. Tenant Craig Ferguson said: "The chambers is particularly conscious of the OFT report and we're preparing, so that in five years we will be ready to form a partnership. "We will be legally entitled to form more of a corporate business entity, either by absorbing a solicitors' firm, by going into partnership with a firm, or by becoming the advocacy department of a large solicitors' firm." The new chambers director, Barbara-Ann Tweedie, joins the chambers from nursing home specialists Tamaris where she was chief executive, having formerly been managing director. Ferguson said: "She has the essential skills to bring about proper financial regulation and control, and the skills to explore new avenues of work in the periphery of crime." Although partnership is a potential reality, ultimately the chambers is maximising its efficiency to withstand threats to the criminal bar and to face the future from a position of strength. The announcement coincides with the retirement of senior clerk Deryk Butler, after 40 years of service. He will be replaced on 1 November by a former senior clerk at Birmingham's St Philips Chambers, Richard Fowler. Fowler rejected the position of chief clerk at St Philips, following Clive Witcomb's recent departure.