1 Crown Office appoints ex-Druces & Attlee chief

Bob Wilson is to become chambers director at 1 Crown Office Row after leaving his post as chief operating officer of city firm Druces & Attlee.

Wilson left Druces & Attlee in March with a mutually agreed redundancy settlement.

Wilson's appointment marks the completion of a programme of restructuring at 1 Crown Office Row which began last year with the recruitment of a senior clerk, Matthew Phipps.

In the past, a number of other chambers that have appointed directors have experienced problems when the relationship between clerks, the practice manager and the director are not clearly defined.

Wilson says he is unconcerned about this.

He adds: “I suspect anyone who has managed to survive four years negotiating with the Chinese government over the future of Hong Kong should have the diplomatic skills and staying power needed to manage a chambers.”

Head of chambers and former chairman of the Bar Council, Robert Seabrook QC, says: “The time has long since passed when heads of chambers, barristers or their clerks can be considered to be equipped or to have the time or expertise to run a modern set of chambers.”

Last month, Druces lost its entire family law team to Gordon Dadds while Charles Attlee, head of the company/commercial department, left to join US practice Bryan Cave.

Wilson says he was part of a top-heavy administration team that could not be justified following the failure of merger and expansion plans last year.

Before Druces & Attlee, Wilson spent nearly 20 years with the Hong Kong government.

Among his many roles he managed the development of the new u5bn international airport and was involved in the negotiations for the handover of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty.

Wilson was also responsible for two years for all legal issues in Hong Kong's equivalent of the Home Office.