Clerksroom negotiates takeover of 199 Strand

Innovative practice administration service Clerksroom is in talks to take over the remains of dissolving set 199 Strand, it has emerged.
199 silk Robin de Wilde QC is set to join Clerksroom on 1 March, as the organisation takes over the chambers’ premises, phone numbers and goodwill. Other 199 tenants are understood to be in talks to follow him.

Managing director Stephen Ward said: “We’ll provide some sort of continuity for them. We also have considerable interest from other barristers at other chambers in London.”
199 will give Clerksroom its first London base, offering barristers office and conferencing facilities as needed. However, there will only be two members of staff at the set.

Clerksroom was founded in 2001 and provides a full clerical support service to barristers, arbitrators and mediators who work from home. Its 16 staff work from a base in Taunton, Somerset, communicating with barristers via phone and email.

Ward said the service receives 4,000 enquiries from solicitors each month and provides services for 61 barristers, 176 arbitrators and 450 mediators. Members pay a chambers contribution of 10 per cent of earnings – less than traditional barristers’ sets because there is no room rent.

De Wilde told The Lawyer: “My reasons for going to Clerksroom is that it is the best-kept secret and it will take the rest of the bar about 10 years to discover. It’s the way forward.

“There’s nothing original in what it does, only that it is doing it more efficiently than anyone else, using the latest technological tools and controlling costs.”