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London set 39 Essex Street is to be joined by 24 members of 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square, including seven silks.
The Lawyer first revealed that the set was in talks with up to 30 barristers earlier this month (9 November 2012). Sources said that initially the set had planned to take between 25 and 30 members from the 56-member 4-5 Gray’s Inn.
The union will take the number of barristers at 39 Essex Street to 118, with 37 QCs, making it the largest London-headquartered set ahead of One Crown Office Row, which has 110 members, including 22 silks.
A statement released by 39 Essex Street chief executive David Barnes said: “Enlarging our operations and bringing together this group of barristers, who have phenomenal experience and reputation in core areas of chambers, means that 39 Essex Street can offer clients an unrivalled service across one of the widest legal practice portfolios in the country.
“This union, along with the launch of a new office in Singapore, is part of an ongoing strategy of growth for 39 Essex Street.”
In June The Lawyer revealed that 39 Essex Street had put in place plans to launch a base in Singapore, its first foray into overseas markets (26 June 2012).The set will launch officially in the jurisdiction in January.
The future of 4-5 Gray’s Inn is unknown after a series of silks defected for rival sets in recent weeks. Landmark Chambers has appointed four silks from the set, including John Hobson QC (26 November 2012), Paul Brown QC and Philip Coppel QC (9 November 2012), and Tim Corner QC (7 November 2012 ).
Many at the bar expect the move will result in the closure of the 4-5 Gray’s Inn (9 November 2012) and 39 Essex Street has not announced the addition of any staff members from the set.
With an additional four juniors leaving for 11KBW, Charles Bourne, Andrew Sharland, David Bedenham and Heather Emmerson and a further two for Matrix, the set is understood to number less than 20.
Those joining Thirty Nine Essex Street from 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square are: