Two senior tenants last week quit 1 Crown Office Row, the chambers of Richard Ferguson QC, bringing the number of departures at the criminal and civil set over the past year to five barristers and two senior clerks.
Oscar Del Fabbro and Elroy Claxton left the 46-tenant set for rival chambers 23 Essex Street, while over Easter Senior Treasury Counsel Orlando Pownall went to 1 Hare Court.
Last year Trevor Burke left for Ronald Thwaites QC's set 10 King's Bench walk and Sasha Wass, junior counsel in the Rose West case, went to Michael Worsley's chambers 6 King's Bench Walk.
However, since January four new barristers – Peter Binder, Eamonn Sherry, William England and Anthony Ventham – have joined, and three pupils have been given tenancies.
The set has had an unsettled year since senior clerk Pat Duane left for Two Dr Johnson's buildings, following personality clashes and a row over pay. His replacement, Douglas Neave, lasted six months. First junior John Phipps was made senior clerk in September.
Claxton said: “I left for personal reasons. It was difficult but a fresh professional start was very attractive.”
Ferguson said: “The Bar is very mobile at the moment owing to a lack of certainty about the future of the criminal Bar and potential cuts in legal aid. Change is inevitable.”
Phipps said a number of chambers had lost five or more tenants in the last year and added that the new arrivals had just as strong practices as the people who had left.