One Essex Court has recorded a 7 per cent growth in turnover, reflecting a steady year at the commercial bar – but some common law sets are feeling the pinch due to problems with legal aid fees.
One Essex Court is the latest commercial set to record its figures and has enjoyed 7 per cent growth for the second year in a row, seeing its revenue jump from £31m to £33.2m.
The set’s outgoing senior clerk Paul Shrubsall said: “The steady growth has come as it hasn’t really been an exciting market, although this is changing and litigation is picking up in a big way. Our figures for this year already show substantial growth, with the set being about £1m ahead for this time of the year.”
Common ;law ;set ;7 Bedford Row, however, has become one of the casualties of the legal aid climate, witnessing a drop in turnover of 9.7 per cent, from £15.5m in 2006-07 to £14m for the last financial year.
The set cited the Government’s downward pressure on legal aid in both the criminal and family arenas as the biggest threat to its earning power.
It is, however, repositioning itself to take advantage of the Legal Services Act to counteract the public funding issues. The only other chambers to have released figures so far have all posted double-digit hikes in turnover.
Littleton Chambers has seen the largest rise, recording a 20 per cent turnover increase in the past year. It improves dramatically its figure of £18.1m in 2006-07, as reported in The Lawyer’s Bar Top 30.
Outer Temple Chambers was close on the employment set’s heels, posting a 17 per cent revenue increase to £15.8m and seeing its fee income in the financial services practice jump by 150 per cent.
North West sets Exchange Chambers ;and ;Kings Chambers also recorded double-digit ;revenue increases of 10 per cent.