Manchester firm embarks on local poaching spree

Manchester-based 28 St John Street Chambers has poached five leading practitioners from local rivals.

The new tenants will join the criminal and family departments this month, making the teams among the strongest in the city.

The chambers at 40 King Street have been worst hit, losing Sonia Gal, a leading family practitioner, and Sally Harrison, a highly-rated senior junior practising in ancillary relief and personal injury.

Also, 58 King Street loses criminal defence specialist Bunty Batra and Young Street will lose senior junior Maurice Green.

Jane Walker joins the firm from 9 St John Street, which recently forged an alliance with Liverpool set 42 Castle Street.

Senior clerk at 28 St John Street Christopher Ronan says: “The family team is already considered by many to be the strongest in Manchester.”

Manchester has recently been a hive of activity, following a wave of merger rumours, including protracted talks between Manchester House and Queens Chambers, reported by The Lawyer (8 February).

“We're not talking to anyone. We have a measured policy of expansion,” says Ronan.

This years' silks list saw 10 Manchester-based barristers promoted to Queen's Counsel, but some see the appointments as a double-edged sword.

“Only a couple of them are any good. I'd like to know what they are going to do because there simply isn't the work,” says one local practitioner.

“I think you could see a bit of a shakedown in Manchester in the next year.”