Old Square Chambers

Despite its name, Old Square Chambers is doing everything it can to be more modern and new.

Head of chambers:

John Hendy QC
Senior clerk: John Taylor
Total tenants (silks): 64 (11)
Total staff: 19 Key clients: Beachcroft, Charles Russell, Farrer & Co, Irwin Mitchell, Lees Lloyd Whitley, Thomsons, Wragge & Co
Recent cases: Leicester City Council v Unison, Cadman v UK, Cable & Wireless v Muscat, Mohmed v West Coast Trains, Mubarak Inquiry, Godber v Home Office

Despite its name, Old Square Chambers is doing everything it can to be more modern and new.

The employment and personal injury set has embarked on a far-reaching growth strategy involving a complete rebrand, a recruitment drive and the purchase of a new London headquarters.

Old Square has an office in Bristol as well as its London base, but bolstered its national presence by hiring two tenants with practices facing north.

The chambers brought in Paul Gilroy QC from Manchester set 9 St John Street and Simon Gorton from Liverpool’s Atlantic Chambers. Both specialise in employment.

The new members joined on 2 October, the same day Old Square moved from Verulam Buildings into its new building on Bedford Row to accommodate the growth.

The chambers has been fully fitted out with up-to-date conference rooms, IT and a staff break room. Old Square hopes better meeting facilities will improve relationships with clients.

Senior clerk John Taylor says: “Come the New Year we want to do an event a fortnight for the firms we work for. There’s an educational side and a social side. When you really boil it down, it’s about having big relationships with people.”

Old Square financed the new building and renovations by a variety of methods. The chambers used a combination of members’ pension funds, two external property investors and a war chest built up by saving members’ contributions.

Taylor says members’ contributions should drop over the next few years as the set sees benefits of scale.

Clerks Laurence Willicombe and Christopher Grub have also come aboard, from Devereux Chambers and Quadrant Chambers respectively, to deal with the increase in work.

This year Old Square managed to get a barrister on both sides of the landmark European Court of Justice (ECJ) equal pay claim brought by Bernadette Cadman against the Health & Safety Executive (HSE).

Tess Gill represented Cadman and Jennifer Eady acted on the other side, representing theHSE and the Government.

Cadman brought her case to tribunal when the health inspector realised she was being paid £13,000 less than a male colleague. The case was referred to the ECJ in 2004.

Taylor is expecting another year of heavy-duty cases for 2007.

Old Square is in the Court of Appeal at the moment, representing Dr Choudhry in a claim against the British Medical Association.

“There’s really meaty stuff down in the diary for next year so we’re all really upbeat,” says Taylor.