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Senior barristers' clerks and practice managers are in exploratory talks about how to set aside old suspicions and bring their two representative organisations closer together.
Senior members of the Institute of Barristers' Clerks (IBC) and Legal Practice Management Association (LPMA) chair Christine Kings, the practice manager at Doughty Street Chambers, have discussed how the two groups can work together on shared interests.
"I have had some meetings with the chair and vice-chair and spoken to other senior people at the IBC, and I think its fair to say there is common ground and common issues between us," said Kings.
Ideas include jointly tackling Bar service providers whose products are not up to scratch and working together to deal with problems with running chambers.
"There have been suggestions that more senior clerks may join us and practice managers may join them," said Kings.
However, the two organisations say a merger between them is impractical and unrealistic. One suggested option is to create a third, separate organisation consisting of both senior IBC and LPMA members.
IBC chair Stephen Graham pointed out that a similar organisation, the Bar/Institute of Barristers' Clerks Liaison Committee, had paved the way in this regard. "That has proved to be an enormously important and successful venture," he said.
The warming of relations between the two groups has increased in the past two months with Kings being invited to the IBC annual dinner, and Graham and his vice-chair David Goddard attending an LPMA reception following its annual meeting on 15 July.
Kings has been re-elected as chair of the LPMA. Edith Robertson, the senior clerk at Goldsmith Building, will be secretary, with Tim Robinson, practice manager at Simons Muirhead & Burton, becoming treasurer.