Commercial first for northern set

Two senior Manchester barristers are leaving Hollins Chambers to start the first exclusively commercial set outside London.

The new set, to be known as Merchant Chambers, is the brainchild of barristers David Berkley and Stephen Cogley, who aim to provide purely specialist representation for the area's business and banking sectors.

They plan to start business on 4 November with the assistance of about three or four other specialist commercial barristers, one of whom will be Daniel Feetham, also of Hollins Chambers.

They are currently negotiating office premises but confirm they will based in Manchester city centre.

Berkley and Cogley, who are also two of the founder members of the Northern Circuit Commercial Bar Association, said they would carefully hand-pick their tenants according to commercial experience.

Cogley said: “At the moment in Manchester the sets are of mixed discipline. By creating a single discipline set, both clients and solicitors are guaranteed purely specialist advice.

“Rather than recruiting from the bottom as the traditional sets do we will look for needs in specific areas and recruit from there. We will be hand- picking our own structure.”

He said the new chambers will aim to run along the lines of a modern business with a focused marketing strategy.

Berkley, who will head the set, said: “Because we will be exclusively serving the business community we want to be more consumer-driven.”

Berkley worked in the commercial litigation department at Manchester firm Halliwell Landau before qualifying as a barrister at Hollins in 1979. He specialises in commercial contracts including sale of goods and insolvency in partnership and employment law.

Cogley joined Hollins in 1988 from the Devereux Chambers in London. He specialises in banking, insolvency and finance law.

Hollins Chambers, which is headed by Howard Baisden, will be left with 26 tenants.