QEB Hollis moves to the City in spirit of competitive advantage

Criminal set QEB Hollis Whiteman is to swap the Inns of Court for the City in an effort to expand its ­regulatory and white-collar crime practices. The set is departing from bar tradition by opening an office on London’s Cannon Street.

“Diversification is our watchword,” said the set’s Mark Ellison QC, adding that the move was designed to better enable the set to develop links with magic circle firms.

“Where our work comes from has completely changed,” said senior clerk Martin Secrett. “The magic circle are keeping the white-collar and regulatory work that they used to refer out.”

In order to better compete with sets that have moved into the practice areas – such as Fountain Court and 39 Essex Street – QEB said it needed to take action. “It’s not about survival, it’s about competing,” said Ellison.

The move comes after the departure last year of the set’s first-ever chambers director, Vicky Thompson.

Thompson joined the set in October 2006 after a strategic review. She quit chambers last year to move to Torbay in Devon, where she has been appointed chief executive of regional firm Boyce Hatton.