After sharing a turbulent recent history of departures, barristers chambers 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square is merging with housing and local government specialist Arden Chambers.
Arden denied the merger following questions from Legal Business earlier today (21 September), before publishing a statement a few hours later confirming the merger from 1 October. The new set will initially be known as 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square incorporating Arden Chambers.
Existing senior practice manager at Arden, Emily Martin, will continue to manage Arden’s work at the merged set, which will be based at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square’s offices.
According to 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square’s website, the set has 54 tenants, while Arden Chambers has 33. Both sets specialise in local government work, while 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square boasts further capabilities in media, IP and sport, as well as arbitration and litigation.
The combination has been met with little surprise in Bar circles, with both sets suffering from notable departures in recent times. Last year, 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square lost public law barristers Richard Clayton QC and Lee Parkhill to Seven Bedford Row (7BR).
In June this year, Arden Chambers lost civil and public law barrister Clare Cullen to Field Court Chambers. Cullen, who focuses on housing, property and local government, has appeared in the Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. Fellow public law barrister Alexander Campbell also left Arden Chambers for Field Court Chambers this year, making the switch in April.
4-5 Gray’s Inn Square has form for mergers, with the set combining with fellow public law outfit Atlas Chambers in 2013. It was a similar story five years ago, with the merger following a swathe of barrister exits, notably a 24-strong team that left for 39 Essex Street.
Atlas director John Lister and a team of eight barristers made the switch to 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square in 2013.