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Manchester set St Johns Buildings (SJB) is to become the largest chambers in the country following the completion of its merger with Liverpool’s India Buildings Chambers and an agreement to combine with Sheffield’s Paradise Chambers by December.
SJB head of chambers Michael Redfern QC unveiled the talks in January, stating that the broader base would help the set target public sector work (The Lawyer, 12 January).
As part of the deal India Buildings Chambers has been rebranded as St Johns Buildings Liverpool.
SJB development and support services manager David Anderson said chambers had seen a dramatic increase in the number of block contracting deals as a result of public spending cuts and volume firms preparing for the changes allowed under the Legal Services Act.
“There are a number of very large firms realising that they’re not getting the most out of outsourcing to barristers,” he said. “Big firms want formal arrangements.”
He added that the set had a ’twin-track’ strategy to offer block contracting to potential alternative business structures while also moving into new markets such as Sheffield to attract traditional instructions.