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Sets bounce back from barrister losses; tie-up creates UK's largest planning team
Eldon Chambers and 4 Breams Buildings are to merge, creating the largest planning team in the country. 4 Breams, which lost Lord Kingsland QC to Robin Purchas QC's 2 Harcourt Buildings in May and John Howell QC to Blackstone Chambers in 2001, has been looking to recruit for two years. Last year Eldon made a failed attempt to merge with 2 Mitre Court Buildings. Merger negotiations took just four months and the whole package, including a chambers constitution and due diligence, is due to be completed in around two weeks. The new set will be named Landmark Chambers and will be led by 4 Breams' head Christopher Lockhart-Mummery QC and joint heads of Eldon Patrick Clawson QC and William Hicks QC. The set, which will comprise 52 tenants, including 15 silks, will be based out of both sets' respective premises until a single building is found. The set will practise planning, property and public law. Eldon was hit this year by the loss of Martin Edwards, Richard Harwood, John Pugh-Smith, Steven Tromans and Christian Zwart to 39 Essex Street. Other departures include William Upton, who joined Stephen Hockman QC's 6 Pump Court, and Anthony Rumbelow QC, who went to the Bench. One source said: "Neither chambers had grown in size recently and both had conflicts over strategy, particularly in terms of which practice areas to develop." The merged set will now be pitted against London's smaller planning chambers, 2 Harcourt Buildings and 2 Mitre Court. 4 Breams barrister David Elvin QC said that the sets were natural merger partners. "We aim to fortify our areas of practice. We see the way forward with the specialist bar is in terms of economy of scale and breadth of service," he said. He added: "4 Breams has a very dynamic clerk room, which is something Eldon Chambers can benefit from. Eldon has a slightly old fashioned way of looking at things, while 4 Breams has a more modern style of management." 4 Breams' senior clerk Stephen Graham will head clerking for the two sets. Property and commercial specialist David Holland will join from 29 Bedford Row and pupil Tim Buley will become a tenant in October.