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Breaking up is so hard to do

29 June 2007

Occasionally the ‘happy band’ that is a set of chambers undergoes seismic shifts when major upheavals lead to a change in the list of members painted up in the doorway. Every now and again it happens that someone decides to leave, for whatever reason, and a bout of soul-searching ensues.

The Bar of course has always had people moving around; but it is in fact relatively uncommon, once a barrister is established in his or her particular set. There is still something of a cradle to the grave attitude; if you did your pupillage in a particular set, were backed for tenancy, got it, then were clerked to a reasonable level of decent work and remuneration, took pupils of your own and even reached the lofty heights or recorder or even QC, it is not expected that you will suddenly up sticks and move to where you think the grass is greener. Sometimes of course the reasons are well understood – on other occasions, often where whole groups of people leave, it provokes acrimony and...

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