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The departure last week of Lord Peter Goldsmith QC from Fountain Court to become Attorney General represents another significant financial setback to his old magic circle set.
His departure is the latest in a long line of silk losses for the set, which included the death of Trevor Philipson QC. Fountain Court is bottom of the bar's magic circle sets, with gross revenue earnings at £19m, £1m more than non-magic circle set Blackstone Chambers. In addition to the loss of Lord Goldsmith and Philipson, Peter Scott QC recently retired from practice, although he is available to conduct inquiries, mediations and arbitrations, and last year Andrew Smith QC was appointed a High Court judge at the Commercial Court. Lord Falconer QC has been appointed housing and planning minister in last week's Government reshuffle, following his time as minister responsible for the Millennium Dome. Prior to that he was deputy to John Cunningham at the Cabinet Office and Solicitor General. Mark Watson, head of clerking at Fountain Court, said: "We can't lose people like that and not feel it. We've always been a chambers where our people have gone on to other things. A natural progression has always been to the bench, and this has happened less to other chambers. "The death of Philipson and the departure of Lord Goldsmith have both been great recent losses to chambers. However, last year we recruited Stephen Rubin QC and Timothy Dutton from Farrar's Building and we've been more than pleased with them, although they're both junior silks and it's a bit harsh to say they're natural successors to the senior silks who have left." The average Fountain Court barrister earns £372,000, which is £22,000 more than at fellow magic circle set Essex Court.