3/4 South Square overtakes Brick Court in chambers earnings league

Specialist insolvency set 3/4 South Square has stormed to the top of the most remunerative chambers list, with barristers’ average earnings standing at £522,000.


Specialist insolvency set 3/4 South Square has stormed to the top of the most remunerative chambers list, with barristers’ average earnings standing at £522,000.

The set saw a 9 per cent hike in revenue per barrister (RPB) to £522,000, taking it to the head of the RPB table.

Of the magic circle of large commercial and chancery sets, Lord Grabiner QC’s One Essex Court is celebrating the largest growth in overall revenues. Earnings are up to £27.3m – a rise of 9 per cent. Despite the loss of Elizabeth Gloster QC to the bench, RPB has risen to £506,000. Brick Court Chambers, which remains the top-ranked set by turnover, and Wilberforce Chambers make up the four-set elite, with RPB standing at over £500,000.

At the bottom end of the top 10, the UK’s largest set, No5 Chambers, posted a revenue increase of 16 per cent, taking income to £21.6m. RPB rose 15 per cent to £135,000 for each of its 160 tenants.

Fellow Birmingham giant St Philips recorded an even more impressive performance, although it was not quite enough to get it into the top 10. The set posted a 25 per cent rise in RPB to £160,000, partly the result of the departure of 12 tenants over the course of the year. The chambers also saw its turnover rise by 14 per cent to £20m in 2004-05.

St Philips chief executive Paul Wilson said the set had managed to get its costs increasingly under control and was able to refund £400,000 to members over the course of the year. “We’ve probably got the best commercial team outside London,” said Wilson.

Top 10 chambers by turnover
Rank Firm Turnover (£m) Revenue per barrister Chambers contribution Total tenants (silks)
1 Brick Court Chambers 32.0 516 10-11 62 (28)
2 Essex Court Chambers 31.0 456 13 68 (28)
3 One Essex Court 27.3 506 12.1 54 (18)**
4 Fountain Court Chambers 27.0 465 14 58 (20)
5 Blackstone Chambers 24.3 380 15-17 64 (29)
6 3/4 South Square 23.5 522 11.5 45 (16)
7 Wilberforce Chambers 22.2 505 16.5 44 (16)
8 20 Essex Street 22.0 440 12 50 (17)**
9 Maitland Chambers* 21.8 335 18 65 (15)
10 No5 Chambers 21.6 135 15 160 (13)


 
  Source: The Lawyer
*Incorporating 9 Old Square
** Excludes arbitrators