Bristol’s Guildhall Chambers raids Queen Square for employment launch

Bristol set Guildhall Chambers is to launch an employment group after adding five new members from Queen Square Chambers.

Employment barristers Debbie Grennan, Julian Allsop, Douglas Leach and Allan Roberts will join the newly formed team, which is to be headed by 21-year call barrister Nick Smith. Smith was head of Queen Square Chambers’ employment group.

“The acquisition of five employment practitioners not only fills a gap in Guildhall’s current specialist services strategy, but also satisfies demand from our solicitors and lay clients,” said chambers head Peter Blair QC.

Queen Square Chambers’ will be left with 13 employment barristers following the team’s departure.

The addition of the new team brings the number of barristers at Guildhall to 73, including seven QCs.

Bristol-based sources said the team was looking to reposition itself in a larger set.

“The bar’s in the midst of huge change and while they may be self employed, barristers are making critical decisions about their future,” a source said. “They’re looking for chambers that can fulfil the demand of the hourly rate.”

It is believed to be the first time a team of this size has switched sets in Bristol. While barristers are traditionally loyal to their sets, moves between chambers are becoming more common.