Leading set 36 Bedford Row is losing a senior QC two weeks after its silk's clerk announced his departure.
Timothy Raggatt QC, highly rated for his commercial fraud and heavy duty criminal practice, is leaving with silk's clerk Graeme Logan to join rival common law set 4 King's Bench Walk (The Lawyer, 24 January).
And recently, senior clerk Martin Poulter announced his departure to 2 Gray's Inn Square.
The clerking structure is now being reorganised with practice manager Peter Bennett taking on the new role of chambers director.
The set is recruiting a clerk to fulfil the dual function of senior and silk's clerk.
Sources close to the set say that many of the tenants are unhappy about the manner of Logan's departure. His resignation has even sparked rumours that all the silks at 36 Bedford Row are about to quit.
Bennett hit back at the suggestion that anyone else would be leaving the set.
"That is totally ridiculous. There is no prospect of that or anything like that happening," he says. "We probably won't recruit again for a year."
Bennett says Logan was due to retire in October next year and that management had been planning to bed in a new structure before then.
"We have decided to go back to a more traditional format," says Bennett.
The London-based 36 Bedford Row, which also has offices in Leicester, Nottingham and Northampton, has grown by 25 per cent to 70 tenants in just five months.
It suffered fluctuating fortunes in 1999, however, after a merger fell through with two of the principal Nottingham sets, King Charles House and St Mary's Chambers.
The set also lost three of its leading players, silk Heather Swindells QC and senior juniors Martine Kushner and Andrew Neaves, who all left for Birmingham set St Philip's Chambers.
In addition to Raggatt and Logan, 4 King's Bench Walk has poached another silk, the former leader of the north-eastern circuit Stephen Williamson QC from Francis Taylor Building. Williamson continues to be dual tenant of 6 Park Square in Leeds.