4-5 Gray's Inn retains emergency recruitment

Leading commercial set 4-5 Gray's Inn Square is reviewing its constitution to allow it to bring in new tenants without holding a chambers-wide vote.

The emergency recruitment measure was introduced by 4-5 Gray's Inn two months ago and is now under consideration to become a permanent fixture.

Four new tenants have joined since members of the chambers voted in favour of setting up the management committee. The committee panel consists of an eight-strong team including Elizabeth Appleby QC, Robert Griffiths QC, Richard Spearman QC, Tim Corner, Philip Coppel, James Ramsden, Sarah-Jane Davies and senior clerk Michael Kaplan.

Senior clerk Michael Kaplan at 4-5 Gray's Inn says: “Prospective tenants can be fast-tracked if they are exceptional candidates.”

The new members are senior junior Murray Shanks from magic circle set Fountain Court and Philip Vallance from Robert Seabrook QC's chambers 1 Crown Office Row.

Kaplan says: “The new management committee has helped us take on new members of chambers within weeks, instead of what has sometimes been several months.”

4-5 Gray's Inn also recently hired two senior juniors from the criminal chambers of Michael Lawson QC at 23 Essex Street. Garrett Byrne is a highly rated environmental and planning specialist and Andrew Carnes is currently involved in disciplinary proceedings for Lloyd's and the Financial Services Authority.

The set is seeking to replace the seven members who left after the collapse of the merger with Monckton Chambers (The Lawyer, 11 September).

Former chambers head Duncan Ouseley QC has joined the High Court Bench (The Lawyer, 23 October) and David Mole QC has been appointed as the joint head of chambers alongside Elizabeth Appleby QC.

Appleby says: “Chambers set up a fast-track recruitment procedure to respond more speedily and efficiently to tenancy applications as they are now considered by the recruitment panel.”

A similar step was adopted by Birmingham superset St Philip's Chambers, which reformed its constitution to speed up the recruitment process by allowing practice heads to make decisions about taking on tenants.