St Phillip's causes Birmingham shockwaves

The formation of super set St Phillip's Chambers in Birmingham, which has 79 tenants and was opened by the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, recently, has led to a shake-up in the city, with seven tenants switching sets.

Chambers 4 Fountain Court has been worst hit, with four tenants quitting. Two, Alastair Smail and John de Waal, went to St Phillip's, and two, Richard Moat and Joanna Chadwick, joined 5 Fountain Court.

But St Phillip's and 5 Fountain Court have in turn lost tenants to 3 Fountain Court: Anthony Warner and Michael Chaloner from St Phillip's and Timothy Leader from 5 Fountain Court.

Clerks said the situation was unsettled and they expected more movement in forthcoming weeks. Rodney Neeld, senior clerk at 4 Fountain Court, said he was looking to replace the tenants, “but in a steady and not rushed manner. We are waiting to see what happens.”

Tony McDaid, senior clerk at 5 Fountain Court, said Leader's departure was by mutual agreement: “His ideas on marketing and how his practice should be run were inconsistent with other members of the group.” Leader was unavailable for comment.

Opening the set, Lord Irvine assured lawyers of a prosperous future in Birmingham. He said: “There are some who decry every change as fatal to the legal profession. Whilst there are constant problems and challenges, my impression is that the Bar and solicitors in Birmingham and the public are well served.”