Firefighters were called to tackle a major fire at The Law Society’s headquarters late on Saturday night.
The Chancery Lane building’s roof and parts of the fifth, fourth and third floors, including the offices of the body’s in-house paper The Law Society Gazette, were set alight.
The blaze was finally brought under control on Sunday morning.
A Law Society spokesperson said: “On Saturday 1 February 2020 a fire broke out in the top of 114 Chancery Lane. An event had been taking place and when the alarm sounded a calm evacuation was effected. The fire service were quickly on site and by approximately 10am the next morning the fire had been put out, though the fire service continued their work through Sunday.
“As of Monday morning the bulk of our staff of 400 is largely working remotely while assessment of the damage continues.
“What we know at this point is there was significant damage to portions of the roof of 114, to the staircase on the upper floors and to the offices located on those floors. Fortunately the fire was contained and did not spread to 113 Chancery Lane which houses some of the more well-known rooms such as our library, the Reading Room and the Common Room.”
Chief executive Paul Tennant said: “First of all I wanted to express my gratitude to the fire service and my relief that nobody has been hurt. I also want to express my sympathy to the residents in the Chancery Lane area whom I understand may have had to evacuate their homes.”
“It is too early to comment on the cause of the fire or the extent of the damage but clearly we are extremely upset that this has happened to this wonderful and historic building.
“When the fire alarm sounded on Saturday night an event had been taking place. An evacuation ensued and I’d like to praise our on-site staff and others for their calm response. We will release more information as it emerges in due course.”
The event was the annual Junior Lawyers Society dinner, which gathers young lawyers from around the country. It is understood that nobody was hurt.
Macfarlanes solicitor and JLD executive member Laura Uberoi, who recently authored guidelines on creating a healthy alcohol culture within law firms and was one of the movers behind the JLD’s dry January, was among those who were evacuated from the dinner and tweeted her gratitude to the London Fire Brigade.
I cannot express in words my gratitude to our fantastic emergency services @LondonFire for all of their efforts on the beautiful building that is home to our profession @TheLawSociety. Devastating to watch after being evacuated last night, but so thankful it is in such good hands https://t.co/wZ4koK1yFK
— Laura Uberoi (@Laura_Uberoi) February 2, 2020
113 Chancery Lane was built in 1832, seven years after the creation of The Law Society itself, and is Grade II listed.
— Heart London News (@HeartLondonNews) February 2, 2020
Absolutely devastated to hear about the fire @TheLawSociety last night. Thankful no one was hurt. Sincerely hope that such a beautiful building can be restored. Was due to attend dinner there on Tuesday with wonderful @The_LEF and our Justice First Fellows ???? #lawsociety
— Clare Hurst (@clarehurst) February 2, 2020