Poulter takes reins at 36 Bedford Row

Chris Fogarty reports

Former 9 Old Square senior clerk Martin Poulter has beaten 30 of his colleagues to become senior clerk at the Chambers of James Hunt QC.

Poulter will work alongside practice manager Peter Bennett after winning the fiercely contested position.

A month ago Poulter's future had looked uncertain as he left 9 Old Square after seven years as senior clerk, following a difference of opinion with senior barristers over policy issues.

However, he has now started working at the Chambers of James Hunt QC, which is based at 36 Bedford Row, after signing a six page document that outlines his functions and the criteria for carrying them out successfully.

Essentially, Poulter will be responsible for all clerking matters, while Bennett will retain control over management issues such as IT and strategic development.

Bennett, who has overall responsibility for managing chambers, said in some ways the set was taking the senior clerk role back to an earlier era where clerking, not management and promotion, was the priority.

"It demonstrates that, in the debate over the management and organisation of chambers, practice managers and senior clerks are not an either-or option," said Bennett.

Poulter agreed and said he was comfortable concentrating on clerking and on helping individual barristers develop to their practices."In a big set of chambers I think it is important to have a split between clerking and administration," he said.

Poulter has a reputation as one of the hardest working clerks at the Bar and with 20 years' experience, his appointment is seen as a coup for James Hunt's chambers.

Poulter comes into the set following clerk Paul Robinson's decision to travel, and is part of the chambers' aim to create a three-tier management structure that is made up of the senior clerk, Bennett and Hunt.