Merger prospects for Birmingham sets rejected

Birmingham Chambers 3 Fountain Court has unanimously rejected a merger offer from its neighbour 4 Fountain Court.

The move is the latest stage of a frantic round of merger offers and talks at the Birmingham Bar which has already led to one merger announcement that of Priory Chambers and 7 Fountain Court.

Head of chambers at 36-tenant 3 Fountain Court, Colman Treacy QC, confirmed an “unspecified” set made an approach about a month ago, which had been turned down after a chambers meeting on 18 March.

He said: “We see no advantage in size for the sake of it. We can provide a better service for solicitors in the Midlands from well-focused, specialised teams. We're 36-strong at present and aim to increase into the mid-40s, but with gradual and strategic growth.”

It is understood that 4 Fountain Court, which has 33 tenants, made the offer after it had itself turned down an offer from Priory Chambers at 2 Fountain Court.

As revealed in The Lawyer, 17 March, Priory Chambers subsequently entered into detailed merger negotiations with 7 Fountain Court to create a super-set with more than 70 tenants.

4 Fountain Court is said to be looking around for a new partner with 1 Fountain Court at the head of the list.

No one was available for comment at 4 Fountain Court and the senior clerk at 1 Fountain Court declined to comment on any merger speculation.

One clerk in Birmingham described the atmosphere at the Bar as “like 10 minutes to closing time in a nightclub. Everyone is desperate to find a partner no matter how suitable they might be.”