Monckton Chambers and 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square are today expected to vote in favour of a full merger just three weeks after starting formal negotiations.
The Lawyer understands that both sets will hold full tenancy meetings today (Monday) to vote on whether to push ahead with the merger that would create one of the biggest sets in the country with 75 tenants including 25 silks.
After intense negotiations and a series of management committee meetings last week, it is understood that agreement has been reached, in principle at least, that the merger should proceed.
Senior clerk at Monckton chambers Graham Lister says: “There is a chambers meeting on Monday. At the moment there has been no decision taken. I cannot confirm or deny [a merger vote will take place].”
Michael Kaplan, senior clerk at 4-5 Gray’s Inn says: “We are going ahead with the merger talks. We are having a meeting on Monday. The merger talks are progressing very well and when there is anything to announce about the merger we will announce it at that time.”
Although there is believed to be overwhelming support for the merger, it remains unclear what restructuring will be needed to the clerking, administrative and management functions.
The coveted post of chief executive, or chambers director, is most in doubt with the incumbents in their respective chambers, Tony Wells of 4-5 Gray’s Inn and his counterpart at Monckton Alex le Clezio, both vying for a single position.
The roles of head of chambers and senior clerk are also to be resolved but it is expected that during a bedding-in period the present incumbents will share the title and function.
There also remains the possibility of a last-minute rival bid from another set for Monckton Chambers, which has long been viewed as an
ideal bolt-on to a large commercial set.