The £1m-a-year club of barristers is growing, with some even understood to be closing in on the £2m mark.
There are certainly not as many huge cases for the commercial bar these days, but there are many barristers still earning astronomical sums.
Lord Grabiner QC, head of chambers at One Essex Court, tops the list and is understood to be commanding a salary that approaches £2m a year.
He is followed by his great adversary Jonathan Sumption QC, at fellow “magic circle” set Brick Court Chambers, who is believed to be earning approximately £1.75m.
Sumption is level pegging with David Pannick QC at Blackstone Chambers, showing the set's rising performance at the commercial bar.
Fellow tenant Barbara Dohmann QC, COMBAR's chairman, is also in the club.
Unlike solicitors in the big City firms who have to commit one or two hours a day to administration, marketing and business development, barristers can charge for almost all the hours they are at work. They are also able to command hourly rates that, for the exclusive few, can rise above £1,000 per hour.
“We're not slaves to the hourly rate. It's a guide only. We are happy to rise above it but also to negotiate downwards,” says a source at a leading commercial set.
Silks' rates generally range between £200 and £600 per hour. But fees will often not be arranged on the basis of an hourly fee.
Slaughter and May and Allen &Overy have broken the £1m profits mark for top partners
The £1m barristers club includes:
Lord Grabiner QC (One Essex Court) – £2m
David Pannick QC (Blackstone Chambers) – £1.75m
Jonathan Sumption QC (Brick Court Chambers) – £1.75m
Gordon Pollock QC (Essex Court Chambers) – £1.25m to £1.5m
Barbara Dohmann QC (Blackstone Chambers) – £1m
Charles Aldous QC (7 Stone Buildings) – £1.25 to 1.5m
Robin Potts QC (Erskine Chambers) – £1m
Elizabeth Gloster QC (One Essex Court) – £1.25 to £1.5m
Christopher Carr QC (One Essex Court) – £1.25m
Mark Hapgood QC (Brick Court Chambers) – £1m
Mark Howard QC (Brick Court Chambers) – £1m
Nicholas Stadlen QC (Fountain Court) – £1m
Lord Goldsmith QC (Fountain Court) – £1m
George Carman QC (Bentham Chambers) – £1m
Roderick Cordara QC (Essex Court Chambers) – £1m