Junior bar gets mobile as LSA prompts defections

The junior bar has seen an unusually high turnover of staff in the past month, with chambers seeking to increase their critical mass to take advantage of the Legal Services Act (LSA).


Junior bar gets mobile as LSA prompts defectionsThe junior bar has seen an unusually high turnover of staff in the past month, with chambers seeking to increase their critical mass to take advantage of the Legal Services Act (LSA).

Five ;barristers ;have defected to rival chambers in a trend that looks set to continue.

A member of the Young Barristers’ Committee told The Lawyer: “All chambers are looking for juniors who have solid practices to enhance their sets, as the climate is very much about focusing on strategy and making chambers as a whole more profitable.”

One senior clerk added that sets realise they now need to provide either an extremely specialist service or be of a large size in order to spread the risk.

“With solicitors increasingly offering services which used to be the realm of barristers, and with the Legal Services Act coming into force soon, we need to reposition ourselves,” the clerk said. “We will as a result see a lot more barristers shifting chambers in the future.”

The ;recent ;movers include John Ross Martyn, called in 1969, and eight-year-call barrister Alexander Learmonth, who have both left Hogarth Chambers for chancery set New Square Chambers.

The pair has come on board to strengthen New Square’s trusts, will and estates practices at a time when Hogarth is understood to be focusing more on IP.

Elsewhere, 39 Essex Street has taken on 14-year-call Robert Marven from 1 Temple Gardens to enhance its specialism in costs litigation, while Old Square Chambers has bolstered its employment and regulatory practice with 5 Essex Court barrister Giles Powell, who was called in 1990.

Powell’s appointment comes just a month after Old Square recruited Farrar’s Building barrister Robin White, who is also focused on employment.